Comments by Joshgun Jafarov
Analyst of the Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication
New opportunities appeared on the geo-economic map of Eurasia as a result of glorious victory of our country, have created the reality of overall reshaping of the international transport system. Many Asian countries are already aware of these new opportunities. Particularly, a special emphasize should be laid on the economic role of the Zangezur Corridor in access of Central Asian countries to new markets. The potential for transportation of goods from China - one of the main locomotives of the world economy, through Central Asia, as well as the formation of an alternative transport corridor to the sea transport route through the Suez Canal, make Azerbaijan, as well as the Zangezur corridor an important transport artery. If taking a recent period, we can mention the Evergreen shipwreck in the Suez Canal that caused a total of 9.6 billion US dollars in damage, including 5.1 billion US dollars in daily shipments to the west and 4.5 billion US dollars to the east. In general, considering that about 12 percent of world trade is carried out through this channel, we can notice the economic importance of Azerbaijan’s alternative transport arteries, including the Zangezur corridor, in transport infrastructure of Eurasia.
The discussion of transport and logistics opportunities in South Asia and the South Caucasus at the level of the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan gives grounds to say that Central Asian countries are interested in using new transport corridors, including Azerbaijan's transit opportunities. Another important moment regarding the Zangezur Corridor is new prospects of integration to Europe created by party countries to Ashgabat agreement. It should be noted that the Ashgabat Agreement was signed between Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Oman, India and Pakistan to develop transport links in the Eurasian region and ensure cooperation with other transport corridors. The international cargo transportation through these countries to the Eurasian markets via the Zangezur Corridor can play a special role in increasing the economic potential of the Karabakh region.
The construction of both the railway and the highway, which will be part of the Zangezur corridor, is underway. The connection of highways within the Karabakh region to the corridor, which will pass through our historical lands, indicates that the implemented work is of comprehensive nature. Thus, the construction of the 101.9 km dual highway "Victory Road" will connect Fuzuli region with the city of Shusha, thus, allowing the revival of socio-economic relations in the Karabakh region. The construction of 123.8 km and 4-6 lane Horadiz-Jabrayil-Zangilan-Aghband road, 70 km and 4-lane Khudaferin-Gubadli-Lachin road, 73 km and 2-lane Kalbajar-Lachin road, 13 km and 4 lane Fuzuli-Hadrut road, and 45 km and 4-lane Barda-Aghdam road will diversify Azerbaijan's access to transport corridors and increase the importance of the lines passing through this territory.
“3+3” geo-economic cooperation format between South Caucasian countries – Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and Turkey, Russia, and Iran may result in restoration of communication lines and formation of a new economic center of gravity. Certainly, the political and economic significance of the Zangezur corridor within this cooperation is undeniable. When evaluating other projects to be implemented in the region, the Zangezur Corridor is a cheaper alternative for the countries of the region. For many years, international financial institutions, foreign countries, and even the government of Armenia could not achieve financing of a new railway line worth 3.5 million US dollars to be laid through Iran and Armenia.
It can be concluded that new economic conjuncture to be formed with the creation of the Zangezur Corridor will be of special importance in the infrastructure of Asia and Europe.