“Some 20 trucks with groceries, medications and other merchandise, but primarily groceries, have been stranded at the customs checkpoint Temir-baba Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan. The Turkmen customs has disallowed the passage and we do not know why”, – one of the Turkmen long haul drivers who got stuck at the border told the news outlet “Kursiv”.
On 1 April Turkmenistan closed the border with Kazakhstan because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, after which trucks started accumulating at the checkpoint “Temir-baba”. Semi-trucks from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine unloaded merchandise into temporary storage facilities in order to subsequently transport the cargo to Turkmenistan by rail. Turkmen long haul drivers cannot use this scheme as they only have transit visas and temporary entry (visa free travel is given only to residents of the border areas of Turkmenistan whereas the visa regime is valid for other Turkmen areas), the news outlet says.
Drivers have been recommended to enter Turkmenistan from Uzbekistan via Farab. According to Turkmen long haul drivers who got stuck in Kazakhstan some drivers followed this advice but they needed to drive another 2,000 kilometers, which will cost $1500. Our interlocutor does not have this amount of money.
Another option is to take a ferry to Turkmenbashi via Azerbaijan. However, a large number of trucks have been stranded in the port of Baku and for this reason the authorities of Azerbaijan stopped passage to Turkmen trucks, but the Turkmen authorities, however, “do not rush” to collect them from Baku.
The driver said that he is running out of money for food and diesel which he needs to keep the refrigerator working.
Kazakhstan agencies confirmed that Turkmenistan does not provide passage for trucks. Kazakhstan is unable to say when the passage for motor vehicles will be resumed.
Let us recall that Turkmenistan is holding negotiations with Iran on resuming rail and road transport services. The construction of disinfection tunnels for all incoming transport is expected to be completed by late May.
There have been no reports on resuming road transport services with Kazakhstan.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan