Leipzig, Germany, May 22
By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:
It is planned to complete the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway by late 2015, Turkey's Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communications, Lutfi Elvan told Trend on May 22.
The latest discussions on the project were held in Tbilisi with participation of Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish presidents, he said.
The minister underscored that although the work on the railway's Turkish section has been completed by over 80 percent, work in the Georgian territory is delayed.
"In particular, delays are observed in the construction of 2,700-2,800 meters long tunnels in Georgia," Elvan stressed.
He went on to add that Azerbaijan and Turkey have called on Georgia to complete the work in its territory.
The minister pointed out that a direct rail link will be created from London to Beijing after completing the construction of the Marmaray railway tunnel in Turkey and commissioning the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
Elvan stated that along with strengthening the relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, this project will also link all the countries from Central Asia to China.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish inter-state agreement.
Azerbaijan has allocated a loan worth $775 million for construction of the railway's Georgian section. Azerbaijan's State Oil Fund (SOFAZ) carries out the funding of the project in accordance with the decree of Azerbaijani president 'On the implementation of the project activities of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars' dated February 21, 2007.
It is planned to construct a new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section will be reconstructed in Georgia, which will increase its capacity to 15 million tonnes of cargo per year. It is planned to build a post in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.
The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tonnes of cargo per year. This figure will be at the level of one million passengers and 6.5 million tonnes of cargo at the initial stage.
Edited by C.N.