CTR Meets with Azerbaijani Delegation, Helps Shape Possible Trade Transit Corridor
The Texas division of the U.S. Department of State (USDS) invited CTR, in partnership with the LBJ School of Public Affairs, to provide presentations to an Azerbaijani delegation concerning CTR’s port and transit corridor research. (View the PowerPoint presentation.)
Robert Harrison, CTR Deputy Director and Senior Research Scientist, and Dr. Leigh Boske, retired Professor of Economics at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, presented their research during the meeting.
“Azerbaijan lies on the western shore of the Caspian Sea and borders Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia,” Harrison states. “It has two ports—Alat and Baku—and its government wishes to enhance its role in central Eurasia by providing trade-related services and infrastructure.”
The country lies near the new, Chinese-sponsored silk route and a transportation corridor that carries energy-related commodities. According to Harrison, some argue that the new, primarily rail, trade transit corridor moves products from parts of China to the UK and EU faster than by steamship marine routes. As such, he mentions, Azerbaijan wants to improve an inland port currently located southwest of Baku city.
To enhance their ports, trade-related services, and infrastructure, Azerbaijani delegates turned to the USDS International Leadership Program for more information. The program enables foreign leaders to experience the U.S. firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with American counterparts through short-term visits. The meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests as well as support foreign policy goals of the U.S.
Azerbaijani delegates included operating, strategic planning, and business development specialists and decision-makers for the country’s Baku International Sea Trade Port and national railway systems, as well as a member from the Ministry of Economy’s Transit Freight division.
The goal of the presentations was to demonstrate examples of successful transit trade corridors in the U.S., to illustrate how government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector can work together to develop successful transit trade corridors and services; highlight social, economic, and political factors that encourage this development, such as efficient and transparent customs practices; and to highlight innovative trends and best models to create new business opportunities and support new initiatives.
The presentations provided visitors with helpful research on U.S. inland ports and global routes, as well as a literature search conducted by CTR library staff that contained PDFs of relevant selected projects and policy briefs. These resources provide delegates with tools to make informed policy and planning decisions for their country, and improve the quality and efficiency of their ports and railway systems.
The project also furthers a key pillar of CTR’s mission, which is to disseminate information for improving transportation initiatives at a local, national, and international level.