Azerbaijan continues discussing additional financing of Georgian section construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 25 / Trend N. Ismayilova /
Providing additional $ 550 million is being discussed to finance the construction of the Georgian section within the reconstruction project of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Azerbaijani Finance Minister Samir Sharifov told media.
"The project is important not only for Azerbaijan but also for the whole region, including Georgia. The form of additional funding is under discussion," Sharifov said.
The Azerbaijani government is willing to provide an extra $500 million to finance the construction of the Georgian section, an Azerbaijan Railways source told Trend earlier. Earlier, Azerbaijan allocated a $200-million loan from the State Oil Fund of the Azerbaijan Republic to construct the section. The loan covers 25 years, with an annual rate of one percent.
The interest rate on the loan allocated by Azerbaijan for construction of the Georgian section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway will be reviewed. In particular, it is expected that it will be brought up to five percent.
A new 105-kilometer railroad branch will be constructed as a part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway. About 76 kilometers will stretch via Turkey, 29 kilometers through Georgia. Moreover, an Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway section will be reconstructed in Georgia to increase transport capacity up to 15 million tons of cargo a year. A point of train transition from the existing train tracks in Georgia to the European one is planned to be built in Akhalkalaki.
The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, which will connect the railway systems of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, will be completed in the first half of 2012, Mammadov told Trend earlier.
But, despite the agreed terms of the implementation of the project, the sides are working to accelerate the process and complete most of the operations by late 2011.
The corridor's peak capacity will hit 17 million tons. Initially, its capacity will reach 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.