Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.18
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will ensure economic boost of the region, a source at Bulgaria’s Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications told Trend.
“The construction of a railway line along the Baku - Tbilisi - Kars route as part of the Silk Road will offer an alternative to the route through Russia and will ensure economic boost of the region. The new link is expected to reduce the travel time between China and Europe to about 15 days, which is more than twice fast compared to the sea route and at the half of the cost of air transport,” said the source.
The official opening ceremony of the BTK railway was held in Baku Oct. 30, 2017. 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.
The ministry’s representative noted that as a result of good cooperation with the European Commission, Bulgaria’s railway lines to Turkey and to the port of Burgas are included in the main Trans-European Transport Network and are being built with European funding.
“So far, Bulgaria has built a large part of the railway corridor linking the port of Burgas with Serbia and Turkey. By 2022, the entire completion of these directions is expected,” said the source.
Further, the source said that both Bulgaria’s Black Sea ports in Varna and Burgas have terminals for the transfer of goods from sea to land transport (ro-ro terminals).
“At Varna Port there is also a ferryboat complex, which is a unique transport facility allowing changing of the wheelsets and switching from a standard European (1435 mm) to a Russian (1520 mm) track-gauge. With this advantage, the terminal offers one of the shortest and cheapest freight routes between Europe and Asia,” added the source.
Aside from that Bulgaria is working actively to build Corridor 8 connecting Adriatic with the Black Sea and Corridor 10 via Salzburg-Ljubljana-Zagreb-Belgrade-Nis-Sofia-Thessaloniki, according to the Transport Ministry’s representative.
“The Bulgarian and Macedonian governments signed an agreement for the construction of Corridor 8 and our country is committed to building its part of the corridor by 2027. At present, the National Railway Infrastructure Company is making the technical design of the Bulgarian section of the corridor,” said the source.
Another project of Bulgaria with high added value is the realization of the transport corridor Rousse-Varna-Burgas-Kavala-Alexandroupolis-Thessaloniki, said the source, adding that meetings with the European Commission are forthcoming to discuss the project.
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