Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.28
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is the shortest transport corridor that will link Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan's Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov said on Nov.28.
He made the remarks during the international research workshop titled 'The future of transport and logistics in Central Eurasia' at Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy.
Sharifov said the timeframe for cargo transportation is one of the most important issues in the transport sector, adding that the commissioning of the new railway will allow to significantly reduce the transportation time between Europe and Asia.
"This railway is of great importance not only for Azerbaijan, but also for the other countries involved in this project," he said.
Moreover, Azerbaijani Deputy Transport Minister Musa Panahov said during the event that the work within the project continues both in Turkey and Georgia.
He said the railway will be commissioned by late 2015 and the first test train will run on the railway to Georgia's border with Turkey in late 2014.
Panahov said the work within the Silk Wind project initiated by Kazakhstan is also underway, adding that the project is aimed at launching the China-Kazakhstan-Caspian-Caucasus-Turkey-Europe container train.
Director General of the Baku International Trade Port Taleh Ziyadov also emphasized the significance of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
He said Azerbaijan has a favorable geographical position and significant infrastructure opportunities which allows the country to have its place in the international transport corridors.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president's decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.
A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A post is under construction 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 metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.
Edited by SI