Kazakhstan considers Turkey's proposal to change route of major transport project

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.17

By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

The proposal of Turkey to change the route within the project Silk Wind, which aims to launch a container train China-Kazakhstan-Caspian-Caucasus-Turkey-Europe is considered in Kazakhstan, TRACECA National Secretary in Azerbaijan Akif Mustafayev told Trend Feb.17.

The Silk Wind project, aimed at launching the China-Kazakhstan-Caspian-Caucasus- Turkey-Europe container train, was initiated under the TRACECA program. Its implementation will decrease the delivery time of goods by two times compared to maritime transport (from 35 days to 12-14 days).

According to the scheme, proposed by Kazakhstan (the initiator of the project), it was projected that the cargo containers from China will be transported to the Kazakh coast of the Caspian Sea by rail. Then they will be reloaded to the sea ferry and taken to the port of Baku. From the capital of Azerbaijan, cargo containers will be delivered by rail to the Georgian ports, from where cargo will be transported to the ports of Turkey by the container ships.

Mustafayev said that Turkey's proposal was to direct the route to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway.

"The routes through the Black Sea ports exist in any case, they have been operating for decades," he said. "Given the fact that BTK railway communicated has been created now, the proposal of Turkey to direct the corridor to a non-transshipping route is feasible."

National Secretary said that this proposal is under consideration in Kazakhstan.

"As for Georgia, it managed to hold agreement procedure on the former route, which we have done in Azerbaijan long ago," said Mustafayev. "Now the Georgian side says that it is necessary to hold the repeated procedure on the new route, which can take several months. We, in our turn, supported the proposal of Turkey and are ready to once again carry out agreement procedures in line with these changes provided that Kazakhstan and Georgia will support it as well."

He said that after four states come to an agreement, repeated procedures will be held and an intergovernmental agreement signed.

"It's kind of a framework agreement within the framework of TRACECA, therefore consent of other states is not needed," said the secretary.

The purpose of the Silk Wind project is to create a multimodal train route (container/RO RO) with a primary information exchange system between customs services and railway operators of the project's partners. Countries participating in the project plan to introduce a single tariff on cargo transportation.

TRACECA is an international cooperation program in the field of transport between the EU and partner countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. The organization has a permanent secretariat in Baku.

TRACECA member states are Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Iran.

Edited by CN

Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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