Turkmenistan - Distribution & Sales ChannelsTurkmenistan - Distribution & Sales
Despite the country’s geographic location, routes for transporting products to or through Turkmenistan are limited. One of the main entry points is the port of Turkmenbashy on the Caspian Sea, located 270 kilometers (170 miles) east of and across the Caspian from Baku, Azerbaijan. Turkmenbashy is an important gateway to Central Asia and is an import and export center for a variety of products. The port, which is currently undergoing a major renovation to expand capacity has a cargo ferry terminal (ferry service to and from Baku, Azerbaijan and Astrakhan, Russia) and a port facility. The current length of the berth of the container terminal is 515 m, which allows it to load and unload simultaneously on three vessels with a total carrying capacity of five thousand tons. A terminal of general cargo with a capacity of four million tons of cargo per year is designed for unloading, loading, and staging goods. In addition, large volumes of commercial cargo are shipped by truck via Iran. There are several road border crossing points at the Iranian border and one rail crossing at Sarakhs. Iran and Turkmenistan have different railroad gauges, and cars have to be switched to a new gauge at the Sarakhs rail station in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan has a number of rail links with Uzbekistan in the north and northeast, but rail and road crossings in the Farap district are the most heavily used. In March 2017, the President opened new railway and highway bridges between the cities of Turkmenabat and Farap. The bridges are expected to improve transportation between eastern Turkmenistan and the Uzbek border. There is limited capability for crossboundary deliveries by trucks with Kazakhstan via Bekdash in the northwest; the road is in very poor condition. The North-South Railway connecting Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan was opened on December 2014. It has an anticipated transportation capacity of 10 million tons of goods annually. The bulk of air cargo enters the country via the Ashgabat airport, although there are airports in all provincial centers. Airports in Ashgabat, Mary, Turkmenbashy and Turkmenabat can handle heavy aircraft. Most cargo transportation within the country is by truck. Mary, Turkmenbashy, Balkanabat, and, to a lesser extent Ashgabat, are the main destinations for heavy industrial equipment and supplies, while Ashgabat is the major destination for most consumer products.