WB Practice Manager: Middle Corridor to create jobs for people in Caucasus, Kazakhstan

27.02.24 13:00

“Middle Corridor has the potential to create jobs for people in the Caucasus, in Kazakhstan, ” said Shomik Mehndiratta,  the World Bank’s Practice Manager for Transport in Europe and Central Asia.


According to the WB Practice Manager, there are infrastructure needs and a range of operational issues that should be addressed “urgently.”


“Today’s event I’m very excited to say, is about our report, the World Bank’s report on the Middle Corridor, and what it will take to unleash its potential. The Middle Corridor, of course, has been around, and it has served the countries of the Caucasus, it’s served Kazakhstan, and helped Kazakhstan export a lot of its goods towards Europe, and also towards China. But what has changed, of course, in the last two years, is that for all kinds of geopolitical reasons, this has become a place where people look for the potential land bridge. And that has increased both the intensity with which consumers have looked at this and the possibility that the middle corridor has. And that’s why there has been a course of studies, EBRD did a study and we have done a study that looks at what it’ll take to make this middle corridor a competitive corridor for land bridge traffic.


Now, what we have found is that while they are, of course, infrastructure needs, and they always are, what is needed perhaps quite urgently are a range of operational issues. So, to think about digitalization, to think about border management and reducing the amount of processes that have to go through, and to think about having one service. At the moment, the middle corridor is like a series of pipes of different capacities that are very loosely joined together. You want one service, you want one pipe so that containers that have to travel from one end to the other can think of the corridor as a viable alternative. And then what you want to do is remember that it’s not only about taking containers from one end to the other.


This corridor has the potential to create jobs for people in the Caucasus, in Kazakhstan. So when we say to turn it into an economic corridor, we are talking about how to make use of the fact that you’ve got a big transport corridor in your neighborhood to create jobs, maybe distribution center jobs. This is not easy, but this is what the potential is,” he said.

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