ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The BSEC member states are on the eve of developing regional trade and cultural ties even further, thanks to three major transport projects. The Black Sea Ring Highway project envisages a four-lane ring highway system, approximately 7,700 kilometers long, to connect the BSEC member states with each other
This file picture shows a scene from Rize, a Turkish province on the Black Sea coast.
Three major BSEC transport memorandums of understanding (MoU) – on the Development of the Black Sea
Ring Highway project and on the development of the Motorways of the Sea and Facilitation of Road Transport of Goods in the BSEC region – are expected to do much to foster intra-BSEC trade as well as tourism, infrastructure and transport investments and economic prosperity among the countries of the region. Most importantly, these projects will make a concrete difference in the lives of the people of the region and bring them closer together.
The Black Sea
Ring Highway project envisages a four-lane ring highway system, approximately 7,700 kilometers long, to connect the BSEC member states with each other. The MoU on the Coordinated Development of the Black Sea
Ring Highway was signed on April 19, 2007 in Belgrade
and very shortly – on November 1, 2008 – it entered into force.
In 2007 the BSEC Secretariat, in cooperation with the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the Union of Road Transport Associations in the BSEC Region (BSEC-URTA) organized the Black Sea
Ring Highway Caravan of 12 trucks from the BSEC countries, transporting goods between the BSEC countries along a 7,500 kilometer route.
The main objectives of the caravan were to promote the BSRH and BSEC to its people, to collect relevant data, to contribute to the assessment of existing physical and nonphysical barriers in and between the member states and to present evaluation and proposals for improvement of the situation within the BSRH project. The caravan completed its mission successfully and brought its findings to the attention of the international community.
Turkey has unilaterally finished the construction of the section of the highway in its territories, from its border with Georgia
to its border with Bulgaria. Greece, also, with the Egnatia highway which connects the Ionian Sea with its border with Turkey, has completed the construction of the highway in its territories. The following has been achieved for theimplementation of the MoU:
The work on the project was institutionalized – the Steering Committee, as a main driving force, and Joint Permanent Technical Secretariat were established. The secretariat is managed by the leading public Greek
company “Egnatia Odos.”
v For this period 10 meetings of the Steering Committee were held. The Steering Committee will shortly finalize the ring route and start working on the elaboration of a Master Plan and project financing schemes.
In September 2011 the Steering Committee decided to include the issue of creating the Model Highway along the Black Sea
Ring Highway sections in the future project of the Master Plan and to cooperate with the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in preparing the feasibility study on the Model Highway Initiative project.
The Model Highway Initiative (MHI), presented by the IRU, is directed at the creation of modern highways and bringing ancillary road infrastructure to the highest European standards. It was presented at the meetings of the Expert Group on the Development of Ancillary Road Infrastructure on September 14, 2011 in Yalta, Ukraine, and on October 10 and 11, 2011 in Batumi, Georgia. The IRU was proposed to play a role of the coordination organ (secretariat) on the development of the ancillary road infrastructure and MHI.
On March 6 to 8, 2012 in Thessaloniki the BSEC-IRU-BSTDB Workshop on Investment, Financial and Technical issues of the Model Highway Initiative and its implementation on the Black Sea
Ring Highway sections was held.
The work on the Development of the Motorways of the Sea in the BSEC region, on the other hand, is directed at strengthening the maritime links among the ports of the BSEC member states. Activities within this project include the upgrading of port facilities, identification of projects of common interest and securing free and fair competition in international shipping. k HDN