Headline changed, details added (first version posted on 13:22)
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 11
By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:
The project for construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will be completed by late 2016, says Azerbaijan's Transportation Minister Ziya Mammadov.
He made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the 15th Anniversary International Transport, Transit and Logistics Exhibition and the 4th Caspian International Road Infrastructure and Public Transport Exhibition in Baku May 11.
"The corridor's commissioning primarily depends on the work on Turkey's territory, since the project is being implemented on the territory with very rugged relief," said the minister. "But all the difficulties are behind, the work is underway. Primarily, the technological part, including the work on connecting the stations to the centralized control system is underway."
The BTK project is of great importance for not only Azerbaijan and the region, but also for the entire Eurasia, he added.
"This transportation corridor will connect countries, nations and even entire civilizations," said Mammadov. "Central Asian and Northern European countries show interest in this project."
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
Azerbaijan has allocated $775 million worth loan for the construction of the railway's Georgian section. 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.
The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Anvar_Mammadov