Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.30
By Rufiz Hafizoglu – Trend:
Today, the first train will be launched on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is as strategically important for Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia as for the entire region, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Trend, Azertac and APA.
"With this we announce that a direct rail link has been established from London to China through the middle corridor," he added.
Currently, the cargo shipping time from China to such European countries as Great Britain, France and Germany along the South corridor and the North corridor, including the maritime shipment, is approximately 45-62 days, said Erdogan.
He pointed out that the same cargo will reach the EU countries within 12-15 days through the middle corridor with the launch of the BTK.
"In other words, shipments sent by China to the EU, along with the BTK line, will reach the destination just in one fourth of the previous period," added Turkey's president.
Currently, the volume of cargo transported from China to Europe is more than 240 million tons. If 10 percent of this volume is carried out via the middle corridor passing through the territory of our countries, then 24 million tons of additional cargo will be transported, he said.
"Transportation of this cargo via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway for 30-45 less days than via other corridors will be considered more profitable for transporters. I am convinced that the BTK will be enough to turn the Middle Corridor Transportation Line into an important part of the historical Silk Road with just this reason. At the same time, we believe that the transport projects that are being implemented in parallel in our region are complementary and reinforcing," said Erdogan.
He pointed out that in addition to its economic advantages, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will contribute to the development of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia globally by improving peace, security, stability and social well-being, providing the flow of goods and passengers along with information flow.
The BTK railway was constructed on the basis a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement. The railway’s peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At an initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.