Trade target: $20bn by 2030

The importance of 20-year old International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) was once again highlighted for its 11-member states and target of achieving a trade of US$30 billion by 2025, up from US$8.2 billion at present.

INSTC will reduce cargo movement distance by 40% and its cost by 30%, reemphasized B B Swain, Special Secretary, Ministry of Commerce at a FICCI webinar held on 18 June 2020.

He highlighted that INSTC is now an important initiative for India, Iran and Russia and many other countries that have joined as members of INSTC.

“We all agree that INSTC since its inception has always recognized the benefits of the project especially in terms of trade with various countries with a viable route and transport links,” B Vanlalvawna, Indian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, told the webinar.

Azerbaijan joined in 2005 and made significant contributions to make it operational, he pointed out.

Going forward it is important to keep the stakeholders engaged in the process, the envoy emphasized, and called that MoUs be activated with council meetings and expert groups brainstorming sessions, either virtually or through meetings.

The INSTC will be a strategically important trade corridor of tremendous promise that could help develop its economic reach, the webinar was told.

The Corridor is expected to help India tap the abundant natural resources potential of Central Asian countries for its energy security as they have rich deposits of petroleum, natural gas and uranium along with deposits of fertilizer inputs such as potash.

“This is the 20th anniversary year of the idea of International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). India and Russia have been great advocates of the INSTC and continue to be its strong supporters as INSTC has now grown to be a viable and popular international project.”

Its members include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria.

Addressing the webinar on ‘Way Ahead for International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in Post Covid-19 Endemic’ Varma offered to organize a ‘Stakeholders Conference’ by the end of the year in Moscow.

The conference, by the Indian Embassy in Moscow, would have participation from businesses, shipping companies, insurance companies along with other stakeholders to keep the engagements alive on INSTC.

Shankar Shinde, Chairman-elect, Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI), stated, “The success of a country’s logistics depends on the availability of a transport system that has safety, security and seamless movement as seen in the INSTC process.”

G Ravi Kumar, Executive, Director (Distribution, Logistics & Coastal), Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR), added that the prices of shipping containers are different in the neighbouring countries which if fixed by the Indian government will help in extending coastal services to those regions. fiinews.com

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