The TRACECA * Programme was launched at a conference in Brussels in May 1993, bringing together trade and transport ministers from the original eight TRACECA countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
* (TRACECA: TRAnsport Corridors Europe Caucasus Asia).
Members of this conference adopted the Brussels Declaration. This was to implement a programme of European Union funded technical assistance, to develop a transport corridor on a west-east axis from Europe, across the Black Sea, through the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to Central Asia.
In the period from 1996 – 1998, Ukraine, Mongolia and Moldova joined the TRACECA Programme.
At the First Annual Meeting of IGC TRACECA in Tbilisi, March 2000, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey officially applied to the European Commission with a request to join the TRACECA Programme and as a result became members of the Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for the Development of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia Corridor.
In July 2009, the Islamic Republic of Iran joined TRACECA, and following the outcome of the Seventh Meeting of the IGC TRACECA, on 16 June 2009 the Republic of Lithuania was granted observer status at the IGC.
The TRACECA corridor is involved in trade and economic development. Major traffic flows through a corridor in Western and Central Europe on the one side, and in Central and South-East Asia on the other.
At present the TRACECA countries are gradually implementing the IGC TRACECA Strategy for development of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia international transport corridor for the period up to 2015, aimed at creating a sustainable infrastructure chain ensuring multi-modal transport with step-by-step integration of the corridor into the Trans-European Transport Networks (TENs).
On 29 January 2015, the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) TRACECA held the 11th annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
During the first sessions, each country presented the results of transport developments for the reporting period. The main factor of TRACECA’s success is 70 million tonnes of cargo transported yearly.
Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux attended the Eleventh Meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) TRACECA. He concluded the first session of the meeting by saying:
In spite of the financial crisis and the geopolitical tension that is impacting the world and can affect economy and therefore the mobility of goods and people, the forecast in this globalised world for transport is good if you look forward to 2050. In fact, international freight transport will be multiplied by four by then; and transport distances will increase by 12%. We will see a shift from the North-Atlantic routes to the North-Pacific routes; Indian Ocean routes will multiply by four; intra-African by seven; intra-Asian by four; and passenger traffic will also follow the same pattern with a 50% increase.
So what does this mean? It means that all modes will have to adjust their capacity with new infrastructure or a better, optimised use of present infrastructure, which means capacity management of infrastructure; also capacity management of train and ship rolling stock. It also means that we will need to invest in missing links, especially north-south links from Russia to Turkey, the CIS and Central Asian countries; or east-west links between Europe, Central Asia and China. It also means that we will have to develop a better complementarity of all modes of transport and this is probably the new philosophy of the 21st century.
In terms of freight volume, air traffic will be multiplied by six by 2050; road by four, rail by five, sea by four; but with a market share that could remain at the same relative level.
So we have in front of us, Ladies and Gentlemen, two main issues: one is a real capacity issue, and the other one, which could be the first, is an environmental issue because the development of traffic will also increase CO2 emissions by an estimated 300% by 2050. So, more than ever modal shift is necessary, with rail – known as a very sustainable mode of transport – as the backbone of a new transport mix, and rail and sea being much more complementary with each other.
I’ll give you an example: the flow of traffic, the exchange of goods between Europe and Asia every year represents approximately 600 billion dollars a year, and rail’s share in the market is only 1%, so the future in front of us is in the development of more rail corridors, which can help the two degrees scenario, especially with the commitment made by all rail operators to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%, to decrease energy consumption by 50%, to develop market share and to shift market share to rail by a factor of two. And I am happy to tell you that all the countries around this table and all your railways are – or intend to be – members of UIC in the best interest of our cooperation and in the best interest of our international future."