The Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA) programme was launched at a conference in Brussels in May 1993. Today, the programme involves Ministries of Trade and Transport from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Mongolia and Moldova, financed by the European Union. Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Lithuania also have agreements in place within the framework of the programme. TRACECA involves projects for development of trade and transport in the region, with major traffic flows passing through a corridor formed in Western and Central Europe on the one hand, and in Central and South-East Asia on the other.
A Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration between UIC and TRACECA on these corridors was signed in 2003.
Opening the online meeting on 2 June, François Davenne, UIC Director General, stressed the importance of integration of railway infrastructure, legal aspects, and profitability and digitalisation in terms of corridor development. Key success factors for container corridor development must be considered, such as ensuring last mile delivery, tracking cargo, predicting transport times, improving the integration of infrastructure, reducing time required for document preparation, solving problems relating to tariff systems and navigating the complexity of customs procedures and unpredictable actions on the part of customs authorities.
The key issues during the discussion were the concept for the development of container transport within the framework of TRACECA, the role of competitive tariffs for transport, development of multimodal transport and organisation of regular container transport on the TRACECA corridors. Sandra Géhénot, UIC Freight Director, presented the results of a study on the Silk Road Middle and Southern Corridors. The study outlines the current situation in relation to these corridors, which are characterised by natural catchment areas with limited demand potential, scarcity of active players, limited scheduled train service, and limited and non-scheduled ferry services. The study also describes ongoing projects and initiatives in the corridors.
Evaluation of the success factors for the Middle and Southern corridors highlighted a number of areas for development. Joint efforts are now required in order to make the development of these corridors a success. The timing is right thanks to increased demand and a need for sustainability, along with current levels of environmental awareness.
The UIC Freight Department will participate in the work of the TRACECA expert group on the development of container transport.