5th Meeting of Heads of Reference Maritime Organizations of ECO Member States
The 5th Meeting of the Heads of Reference Maritime Organizations of ECO Member States was held on 6th March 2019, in Tehran, at the Secretariat. High-Level Delegations from the ten ECO Member States participated in the event. H.E. Dr. Hadi Soleimanpur, ECO Secretary General, in his welcoming statement highlighted implementation of decisions adopted by the 9th Meeting of Ministers of Transport of ECO Member States (1-3 May 2018, Turkmenistan) one of priorities of which is establishing of complimentary mutually beneficial networking amongst dry ports in landlocked countries and sea ports in coastal countries of ECO, for greater transit transport. While referring to international seaports in Caspian Sea, such as, Baku Port, Port Aktau, Turkmenbashi Port and Anzali Port, the Secretary General called for connecting these with coastal sea ports in the Persian Gulf via ECO’s railway links. H.E. Mr. Mohammad Ali Hasanzadeh, Deputy Managing Director for Ports and Economic Affairs of Ports and Maritime Organization of the I. R. Iran, inaugurated the meeting by highlighting the interaction among ECO Member States. He referred to a modest 20% of the country’s existing potential for cargo transit with the neighbouring countries, that has been realized till present thereby opening vast opportunities for neighbouring countries, especially the LLCs, to realize their transit potentials. Simplification of customs administration and removal of tariff barriers were named as effective tools to augment transit transport in ECO.
As practical steps towards mandatory implementation of decisions of ECO’s Transport Ministers, the meeting considered the project proposal on establishing the complementary networking amongst ECO countries by utilizing their logistics in seaports of coastal countries and in dry ports of landlocked countries (LLCs). Upon the detailed deliberations, the proposal was agreed for implementation purposes. The concept idea of launching the tourism cruise liner in the Caspian Sea was favored by all ECO Member States. The suggested cruise liner was commissioned for a test run to start in the coming summer. The latter was agreed for a dispatch amongst pre-Caspian countries of ECO.
The meeting provided an insightful space for the Member States to exchange thoughts and empirical, practice-based recommendations on near future developments in the maritime cooperation area while, at the same time, it has preserved strong coherence with past achievements. Thus, the meeting decided that the scope of oversight of reference marine organizations of ECO Member States be widened to include port authorities given today’s realities associated with urgency of addressing LLCs’ needs, and also, out of commonalities being pursued along similar international path by Almaty Plan of Action, Vienna Program, and Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports. The meeting started with good thoughts, good words sharing good practices and expertise to then transit towards good deeds.
Next meeting will be organized in Turkmenistan.