Turkish trucks to bypass Russia via alternative routes to Central Asia
ISTANBULTurkish trucks will soon be able to travel to Central Asia using Ro-Ro ships from Baku after Russia banned transit in the wake of the downing of one of its jets last month, the International Transporters Association (UND) said in a written statement on Dec. 2.
Hundreds of Turkish trucks have been waiting at Russian customs after a Russian airplane was downed by Turkey on Nov. 24. Amid the crisis, the UND has accelerated attempts to find alternative routes through the Caucasus and on to Central Asia for Turkish trucks, according to the statement.
Transit passage fees for Turkish trucks will be slashed by 40 percent on their route through Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The cost of Ro-Ro shipments via the Caspian Sea has also been cut by 20 percent.
Costs have also been reduced on other matters, such as insurance costs, according to the statement.
The price reductions emerged after UND Managing Director Fatih Şener visited Baku on Dec. 1 to discuss the issue with a committee.
The committee was established in October with the support of the transport, economy and foreign affairs ministries of both Turkey and Azerbaijan after an order by Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev and under the direction of Azeri Economy and Industry Minister Şahin Mustafayev, said the UND.
Some 50 percent of Turkey’s exports to Russia go by land. The trucks are loaded onto ships in Istanbul or the Black Sea province of Zonguldak before sailing to Ukrainian ports, from whence travel to Russia. Alternatively, many trucks pass through the Sarp border in northeastern Turkey to travel to Russia via Georgia before heading to Central Asia.
Around 1,250 trucks carrying Turkish exports have been blocked from entering Russia and have been stranded at border posts since Turkey downed the Russian jet, Şener told Reuters Nov. 30.
“Azerbaijan has allowed entry, and these trucks will go to Central Asia through this route,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters at the time.