Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 1
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Azerbaijan is ready to ensure the transit of goods from Turkey to Central Asian countries, Akif Mustafayev, national secretary, member of the Governmental Commission on the Development of TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia) told Trend Nov.30.
Russia banned the entry of trucks from Turkey to its territory last week.
This decision was made as part of the restrictive measures taken by Moscow against Ankara following the incident of Russian SU-24 bomber shot down by Turkish Air Force.
Therefore, Turkey proposed to transit this cargo through Azerbaijan and this initiative is fully supported by the country, Mustafayev added.
"The conditions will be created at the border posts for the Turkish trucks to easily enter Azerbaijan," Mustafayev said.
He said that the Azerbaijani leadership's strategic decisions were taken before the Russian-Turkish conflict to attract cargo flows.
"Some decisions were taken long before the deterioration of Russia-Turkey relations," he said. "Providing the Azerbaijan Railways company with broad powers in freight transportation, particularly, given that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be put into operation in late 2016, as well as the establishment of a coordinating council, which will deal with the problematic issues, including a tariff issue, are among them. The situation is that the cargo flows are directed via Azerbaijan."
"They aren't allowed to pass through Russia," said Mustafayev. "Turkey's relations with Iran are too not quite warm."
He said therefore, in such a situation the only and the shortest route is the Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Caspian Sea-Central Asia corridor.
"I am sure that soon decisions will be taken to mitigate tariffs and conditions of cargo transportation across the border," he said. "We need to create such conditions that on later stage, when relations between Russia and Turkey improve, cargo transportations to Asia would still go through Azerbaijan."
He added that Azerbaijan itself is ready for such an increase in cargo traffic.
"Out of 200,000 Turkish trucks transporting food products, agricultural products and other goods, a total of about 30,000 were passing through Azerbaijan," he noted. "The remaining 170,000 were crossing the Georgian-Russian border into Russia and Central Asia."
If they are redirected, Azerbaijan has the possibility to pass such a number of goods through its territory. Plus, there are enough ferries in the Caspian Sea to cope with such volumes," said the national secretary.
Mustafayev said that traffic growth will contribute to a significant increase in revenues of Azerbaijan.
"Today, revenues from transportation via Europe-Caucasus-Asia corridor account for about $350 million a year," he said. "Now, due to the sharp increase in transportation, they may increase by 4-5 times. It is difficult to give exact figures, because we don't know how the cargo will be distributed."
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