Azerbaijan expects freight traffic growth in 2016

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 8

By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

The measures taken by Azerbaijani government in the development of cargo transit transportations and realization of infrastructure projects suggest that the freight traffic volume in the country will in 2016 rise significantly, said Akif Mustafayev, national secretary from Azerbaijan for TRACECA.

He said Azerbaijan has recently done a great job in this area: preferential tariffs for transportation were introduced, a coordination council was created under a presidential decree, and reforms continue in the customs area.

"We expect that in the light of the measures taken by Azerbaijan's president for development of transit transportations on the backdrop of global economic crisis, this should lead to a certain increase in freight traffic and revenues from the sector in 2016," said Mustafayev.

"Moreover, at a time when Russia has imposed restrictions on Ukrainian and Turkish cargo transportations, all the cargo traffic from Ukraine and Turkey to the Central Asia has to go through Azerbaijan," he said. "This is the moment one needs to use, especially given that certain favorable conditions are being created in the country for transit transportation, and such reforms will continue."

He went on to add that similar reforms are expected in Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey - countries of the major axis of the corridor.

"Besides the advantage of this corridor's being the shortest one, these reforms will increase its attractiveness with regard to tariffs and service quality. I am sure the results of this policy will become visible in 2016, when the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is put into operation and once the second phase of the Baku International Sea Trade Port's construction in Alat starts, ensuring the growth of cargo transhipment," he said.

Both infrastructure projects should give additional momentum to the development of the country's transit transportations, he added.

"So far it is too early to speak about exact volumes. Results of the first quarter will be indicative in this regard, despite that it is not the best quarter for freight traffic due to weather conditions," he said.

"Cargo flows will grow during the year, if an increase is achieved in them in the first quarter of 2016," he explained.

Azerbaijan's transportation sector transported 203.7 million tons of cargo in Jan.-Nov. 2015, which is 0.5 percent more than the same period 2014.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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