Connecting the Caspian & the Black Seas

The construction of the Eurasia Shipping channel, which connects the Black and Caspian seas, requires the consent of all the Caspian states, reports the Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Zulfiya Amanzholova.

“The Caspian Sea is a closed reservoir with a unique ecosystem, which is very fragile," she explained. “In order to implement any projects related to connecting the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea, it is necessary to obtain the consent of all five Caspian littoral states, and it is necessary to conduct appropriate environmental assessments. The whole point is how feasible the project will be from an economic point of view and how serious the environmental risks will be.”

According to the diplomat, articles on the protection of the marine environment of the Caspian are contained in the Tehran Convention, signed in 2003.

The proposal to connect the Caspian and Black seas has been voiced repeatedly since the 18th century. In recent years, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev several times suggested building a shipping channel named “Eurasia.”

According to political scientist Eduard Poletayev, with the “Eurasia” channel, Kazakhstan would have access to the world’s ocean, that is, it would become a full-fledged sea power. Poletaev believes that the most effective way to implement such a project is a mechanism of public-private partnerships. The international consortium, aside from Russia and Kazakhstan, may theoretically include China, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

The possibilities of the existing Volga-Don canal are already at a limit, and not all modern vessels with a large displacement can pass through it. The planned carrying capacity of “Eurasia” is estimated at 45 million tons, which is three times higher than the functioning Volga-Don channel.

By Dimitri Doleberidze

20 August 2018 16:06