SAARC - South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

03/01/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/01/2024 05:09

Final Workshop on updating the SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study (28-29 February 2024, SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu)

The Final Workshop on updating the SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study (SRMTS) was held at the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, on 28-29 February 2024. The Workshop was attended by experts from the Ministries/Departments dealing with transport infrastructure and representatives of the Ministries of External/Foreign Affairs of the SAARC Member States.

The Workshop reviewed the draft Final Report of the updated SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study. The participants of the Workshop were briefed on the progress of the work to update the SRMTS, followed by discussion and updating of the information on the SAARC Road, Rail, Inland Waterways, Maritime and Aviation Corridors/Gateways.

The SAARC Regional Multimodal Transport Study was finalized in 2006, in pursuance of the directive of the SAARC Leaders who, during the Twelfth SAARC Summit (Islamabad, 02-04 January 2004), while recognizing the importance of transport integration in South Asia, decided to strengthen transport, transit and communication links across the region. The main objective of the SRMTS was to enhance multimodal transport connectivity among the SAARC Member States and to promote intra-regional trade and transport. The Study covered all modes of transport - road, rail, maritime, inland waterways and aviation.

The original SRMTS was undertaken in 2 phases. Under Phase I, country reports were prepared with the help of national experts that focused on identification from the respective country's perspective of the transport corridors/gateways, both existing and potential. Information was also compiled on the major physical and non-physical barriers along the corridors/gateways that need to be addressed to make them suitable for carrying enhanced volumes of intra-regional traffic.

Under Phase II, an in-depth analysis of the basic data compiled under Phase I was undertaken by the Regional Consultants and a number of Regional Corridors/Gateways were selected based on certain criteria, for further analysis to establish regional connectivity among all the SAARC Member States.

The SRMTS is being updated with the technical and financial support of the Asian Development Bank. The objective of this update to the SRMTS is to review the ongoing needs in promoting the enhancement of multimodal links in the SAARC region, to assess the progress achieved since finalization of the original SRMTS and to find where further focus is needed in achieving SAARC's connectivity goals as well as adding a new chapter on linking South Asia with Central Asia by all modes of transport.

Moreover, transport has undergone many changes in the last fifteen years, most noticeably in the maritime and aviation sectors and it is important that SAARC's multimodal strategies continue to reflect the current transport environment. This update would help ensure that the SRMTS remains relevant and serves as a reference document for guiding SAARC's philosophy in relation to the promotion of regional transport connectivity.

SAARC Secretariat,

Kathmandu, 29 February 2024