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Turkmenistan to Build Shipyard in Turkmenbashi

Monday 14 November 2011

The State Service for Maritime and River Transport (“SSMRT”) is planning to construct a shipyard and a ship-repair facility on reclaimed land within the perimeter of the existing Turkmenbashi Port. The finance for the Project will be provided by the EBRD and the Turkmen government.

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Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea is being renovated. Main shipping lines cross the Caspian to Astrakhan in Russia and Baku in Azerbaijan. Smaller Caspian ports are Alaja, Chekelen, and Ekarem. Plans call for expansion of Ekarem into a second major Caspian port. In 2006 Turkmenistan had eight merchant marine vessels of more than 1,000 tons displacement, of which four were cargo ships, two were oil tankers, one was for refrigerated cargo, and one was a combination ore and oil ship.

SSMRT operates a fleet of vessels which it is unable to maintain efficiently because no facility to repair and maintain vessels currently exists in Turkmenistan. SSMRT reports that it has experienced significant cost and quality problems as well as significant time delays with the use of foreign shipyards. It therefore wishes to construct a shipyard for its own use, and for the use of other Turkmen registered vessels, notably the fishing fleet.

Turkmenbashi (Türkmenbaşy, formerly known as Krasnovodsk and, more properly Kyzyl-Su: قزل سو) is Turkmenistan’s only port and sea link to the West. A ferry service connects Turkmenbashi to Baku, Azerbaijan. It is the western terminus of the Trans-Caspian railway, which connects the city to Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat and points further east. The city is also connected to Ashgabat by bus and by Turkmenistan Airlines.

Western Turkmenistan has major petroleum and natural gas reserves, and Turkmenistan’s largest oil refinery is in Turkmenbashi.

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