Logistics global rating
By Alexander Karayev, deputy director of the Information-Analytical Center under MSU
Russia Шs in 94th place out of 155 countries in the regular Logistics Performance Index compiled by the World Bank. According to the analysis of the speed of cargo transit and registration, the leading states among the post-Soviet countries are Kazakhstan (62nd) and, strange as it seems, Uzbekistan (68th). Azerbaijan is the third in this group (89th). It is interesting that Georgia, despite all the reforming in the sphere of logistics, shared a rather low score – 2,61 – with Russia and occupied the 93rd line of the rating. Of course, virtual ratings do not exactly reveal the real state of communications in any given country, but they describe the general situation giving data for comparison.
Azerbaijan became the unquestionable leader in cargo transactions on the South Caucasus. However, according to the WB rating, Azerbaijan has serious problems with the quality of customs services (2.14 of 4 points), which is almost equal to Russia’s. The infrastructure and the level of competence of political services (2.48) isn’t much better. The indicators of the key aspect of the rating procedure – the time in which the cargo gets delivered (3.15)– as well as the quality of loading job (3.05) are, on the contrary, rather high. Azerbaijan occupies a higher position in this rating that Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and a number of other post-Soviet states. And Azerbaijan carries out its plan of logistic system modernization it has a chance to turn this virtual achievement into an actual transit-service leadership in the region and could compete for becoming a part of the transit route from Kazakhstan and China.
In this case the initiative of Ukrainian PM Nikolay Azarov suggesting the expansion of a multi-modal transit route ‘Viking’ to the states of Central Asia via Azerbaijan and Turkey. This new route could speed up the delivery of the Chinese goods to Europe and of the European goods to Central Asia. The ‘Viking’ project appeared as a joint initiative of Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine. For now it operates in small volumes, but this indicator is constantly increasing. In 2011 Georgia and Moldova joined the project.
Due to the constant political tension connected to Iran the international transit corridor ‘North-South’ experiences serious difficulties. The project of bridge construction on the Astara River on the Iranian-Azerbaijani boarder has been under discussion for 10 years now. This project is due to be discussed once more by an international expert group in India on May, 30.
Baku anticipates the creation of the new railroad line Baku-Tbilisi-Kars. However this project might cost more that $1 billion as it would be incomplete without a new marine port in Azerbaijan, and it is obvious that the expenses won’t be compensated right away.
Armenia, which is in the center of a number of regional conflicts, stands 111th in the rating. Due to its conflicts with Azerbaijan and Turkey the only possible transit transport there is the air-transport, which raises the cost of the cargo. Nevertheless Yerevan tries to develop the country’s inner communications. Armenia invited Russia’s State Railroad Company to help with the modernization of its railroad network. In late April, 2012 Spanish company Corsan-Corviam Construccion, S.A. won the tender on construction of three sections of the ‘North-East’ transit highway on Armenian territory (the deal is $250 million worth). These sections of the highway will cover the 550 km distance between the country’s boarders with Iran and Georgia and will become the first concrete highway sections in the country.
The modernization of the transport-logistic infrastructure of Eurasia proceeds at a very slow pace. The existing infrastructure was created in the USSR epoch and is inadequate to today’s conditions, so the resources needed for their renovation are immense. However, if the entrepreneurs of the region will finally be able to organize their shipments on the European level, it would attract a lot of new investors to the regions of the Central Asia, Caspian littoral and the Caucasus. So if the sates of the regions would attribute more attention to these issues it would give them a chance to improve their positions in the international logistic ratings, which would also increase the number of foreign investments. However, the logistic situation on the CIS-space is still complicated by regional conflicts, and that is the main obstacle on the way of the modernization.