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publicationNovember 27, 2023

The Middle Trade and Transport Corridor: Policies and Investments to Triple Freight Volumes and Halve Travel Time by 2030

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This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the expected demand for the Middle Corridor, a multimodal rail and maritime corridor linking Chinese and European markets via Central Asia and the Caucasus. The study also offers a detailed diagnostic of infrastructure and logistics services capacity and constraints in the three core countries of the Middle Corridor: Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.


Key Messages

  • This is an opportune moment to realize the catalyzing potential of the Middle Corridor. New data and economic modeling in the report support the viability of the Middle Corridor. A combination of investments and efficiency measures can reduce travel times along the corridor by half and triple trade flows by 2030.
  • Although there is significant focus on the corridor’s role as a land bridge between China and Europe, it is of critical importance as a regional corridor for countries through which trade will flow.
  • Increased trade between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Europe are the key drivers of demand. Modeling projects a 37 percent increase in trade between Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, and a 28 percent increase between these countries and the EU by 2030.
  • A fully functioning corridor would help to shield China-Europe trade and supply chains from shocks.
  • Near-term efficiency gains and medium-term investments will strengthen the functioning of the Middle Corridor and harness its potential to invigorate regional trade. This requires steps to improve coordination, logistics, and digitalization, while critical investments are needed to upgrade railways, intermodal facilities, and ports in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.

Five-step process infographic