The Increasing Relevance of the Middle Corridor in Sino-European Trade: Which role for Azerbaijan?

Against the backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine, several international shippers are reorganizing land transportation to avoid Russian territory and favour alternative transit routes. New transport initiatives are already being redirected to the south and, taking into account that Iran is also under sanctions, the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, known as Middle Corridor, is currently in the spotlight as the main alternative multimodal route for East– West land transportation. This article discusses in detail the potential of the Middle Corridor to establish itself as a viable route for intercontinental trade and the role that Azerbaijan could play to develop this route and to enhance the prosperity of the region. It examines the impacts and benefits of the corridor, as well as its physical and non-physical barriers. The article concludes that, despite the presence of some limitations, the Middle Corridor has the potential to emerge in international transport connectivity and to contribute to stability and cooperation in the region, while acknowledging that its viability will also depend on how the European Union (EU) reacts to the latest developments in regional connectivity.

Authors: Simona Scotti