BTK - key link of East-West transport corridor: Deputy Minister (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 7

By Ali Mustafayev – Trend:

Uzbekistan watches the projects on creation of a ramified multimodal infrastructure, including rail, road, sea and air links implemented by its foreign partners - Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, with great attention and optimism, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Sahib Saifnazarov told Trend.

"The launch of mutually beneficial and efficient transport corridors creates all the necessary conditions for the successful integration of our countries into global economic development processes. These projects are also very important for attracting foreign investment, sustainable development of export potential and expanding the geography of supplies of products produced in our countries," the deputy minister said.

He also noted that these corridors will contribute to the increase of attractiveness of transit corridors, running through the territories of our countries, and allow to effectively use the transport infrastructure, as well as to increase the volumes of cargo transportation in various directions.

"In this regard, we can’t underestimate the importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad both for the countries of Central Asia and the subcontinent in general, since it is called to become a key link in the large-scale transport corridor "East-West," Saifnazarov said.

The BTK will also contribute to creation of a single railway corridor "China - the countries of Central Asia - the Caspian Sea - Azerbaijan - Georgia - Turkey", providing access to the Mediterranean ports, as well as to European markets through the Marmaray tunnel," according to the deputy minister.

"The forecasts show that one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo per year will be transported along the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars route. It is assumed that the level of transportation may be increased to three million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo. In particular, it is expected to attract significant volumes of cargo from China and Kazakhstan," Saifnazarov said.

Uzbekistan is interested in actively using and increasing the volume of its foreign trade cargo transportation along this corridor, according to Saifnazarov.

The deputy minister also added that the construction of the railroad has made it possible to form two alternative transit corridors for Uzbekistan along the following routes: Hodjidavlet / Farab station –Turkmenbashi - Baku-Tbilisi port - Akhalkalaki station - Kars-Ankara-Istanbul station (3,414 kilometers); Karakalpakia station - Aktau port - Baku-Tbilisi port - Akhalkalaki station - Kars-Ankara-Istanbul station (2,820 km).

According to Saifnazarov, transport and time costs for the new route will be significantly lower compared to the route passing through Iran: Khojidavlet / Farab station - Serakhs / Mashhad station-Razi / Kapikroy station (Iran-Turkish border ) - 2,375 kilometers.

In this regard, Uzbekistan considers it necessary to work out the issue of concluding appropriate agreements on transit transport of its goods, as well as the application of optimized tariff preferences for transportation along a new route.

"The launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will serve to further strengthen our trade and economic relations, significantly enhance the transit and economic potential of our countries and in general contribute to the prosperity of the entire region," the deputy minister said.

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