A new "Silk Road": transport corridor bypassing RUSSIA

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The project involves China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

In the framework of the international project "Silk Road" in Georgia on December 13 arrived first Transit train that takes the goods from China to Turkey. Carriage for a new "Silk Road" were carried out in the territory of Russia bypass from the Chinese port of Lianyungang cargoes in Kazakhstan, then marine ferry took them in Azerbaijan and by rail from Azerbaijan, they were transferred to Georgia.

At the final stage of the Georgian port of Poti goods are transported using a ferry on the Black Sea to the Turkish city of Istanbul. After commissioning will take railway Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (in Western Turkey), arrived in Azerbaijan from Kazakhstan goods will be transported on the railway route, avoiding the sea route out of Poti in Istanbul.

Thus the time required for the transportation of goods by a new "Silk Road" will be about 10-15 days, whereas alternative fully marine route involves approximately 40-45 days. The idea of restoring the historic Great Silk Road route, once connecting Asia with Europe, belongs to the President of China. Tbilisi has joined to work on this project two years ago.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, held in Tbilisi in the Sunday ceremony called this "historic" day.

"The cooperation of the countries along the Silk Road will give us the opportunity to produce shipments from China to Europe is much faster and cheaper. Using the Silk Road project, Georgia will become the mul′tiregional′nym Centre, which will connect Europe, East Asia, India, Central Asia and the Middle East, "said Georgian Prime Minister.

"A long-term perspective"

Expert on Economic Affairs Gia Khukhashvili said in an interview to the Russian service of voice of America in the 21st century-in circumstances where there is a "huge competition between the many producers, it is important to not just produce product, but also to reduce logistics costs by diversifying ways of delivery of products to different markets.

Although, according to China Khukhashvili "Silk Road", bypassing Russian territory is interesting not only from the standpoint of economic efficiency, but also for political reasons.

GIA Khukhashvili believes that the Silk Road project-quite an interesting initiative, which has a future in the medium term, although it is unlikely to be economically efficient. The reason, according to him, that this route at this stage is "unstable", and participating countries of the project in terms of infrastructure is not yet ready for significantly increasing cargo taken by them.

"Silk road passes through not very peaceful regions, and still will need to make many efforts to ensure that he received the status of a stable transport corridor. In addition, there are problems with the infrastructure, because the turnover growth is not yet ready to neither Kazakhstan nor Azerbaijan or even Georgia, whose infrastructure is though relatively better, but still insufficient for the serious turnover growth condition, "the expert said.

At the same time, stresses Khukhashvili, as Europe and China are interested in the stabilization of the "Silk Road", the expert doesn't exclude that, thanks to their skoordinirovannymusiliâm, including "serious investments, the project will develop, in the shortest possible time.

Nino Japaridze, parliamentarian, an expert on Economic Affairs of the Georgian "a new political center" finds "Silk Road project" is very important for both the economy and security of Georgia.

According to him, in the long run on this route will eventually be held very large loads that will bring significant benefits to the Georgian economy. He places special hopes on the implementation of the plans of the Georgian authorities, have expressed intention to Beijing and Tbilisi to sign a free trade agreement, and that the Chinese side is planning to build a deep-water port in Anaklia, which will be the largest port in the country and will be able to accommodate ships with a much large amounts of cargo than is possible in Poti and Batumi.

It is noteworthy that, as previously said the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, a first round of talks about a free trade agreement between Georgia and China will be held in January next year in Tbilisi.

Nino Japaridze believes that a significant reduction of the time required for transporting "attractive" for the Chinese side, respectively, problems in connection with bandwidth of participating countries of the route will be, in his view, corrected in the near future.

Japaridze sees in the "Silk Road" is also the perspective of strengthening the security of Georgia. According to him, security involves not only the defenses, but also a strong economy, interests and presence in the region of large players, what is China.

At the same time, interest in the region by the new player, said Japaridze, is hardly in the interest of Russia, which after the collapse of the Soviet Union attempts to return the Caucasus and Georgia, in particular in the area of influence.

"Apart from the fact that the" Silk Road ", bypassing Russian territory is laid, which is not beneficial for Russia in economic terms, it is unlikely that Moscow purely geopolitical terms, is happy with the growing likelihood that Georgia might not be in the interests of China," said Nino Japaridze.


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