FM: Poland should further develop transport co-op with Azerbaijan (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 28

By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:

Poland should further develop transport cooperation with Azerbaijan, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Krzysztof Czaputowicz said in an interview with Trend.

“We are not directly involved in Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project but there are other ideas and projects we are jointly in. South-West corridor connecting Iran, and possibly India, through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine to Poland and the rest of the European Union is one of them,” said the minister.

Czaputowicz noted that South-West corridor lays on two important axis: East-West and South-West which connect Central Europe with South Caucasus and then Far East countries.

“This project is very important for two reasons. Firstly, it will strengthen our economic ties and give us more flexibility in the international transport. Secondly, this is an example of a fruitful cooperation between Poland and the Eastern Partnership countries, especially that we are ready to work with the EU institutions in order to convince them to invest some European funds in the framework of the TEN-T agenda on this direction,” added the minister.

He said that from this point of view the South-West route corresponds with the European idea of the connectivity.

Along with the Trans-Caspian and North-South corridors, the South-West corridor is of great importance for Azerbaijan. The South-West corridor is supposed to run from India to Europe through the Persian Gulf, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Black Sea. At an initial stage, it is planned to transport 10 million tons of cargo via this route with the possibility of increasing the transportation volume by several times in the future.

An agreement on the South-West corridor was signed in 2016 by Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Ukraine in Baku. The corridor will make it possible to slash the time of cargo transportation from India to Europe by two or three times.

Earlier, Polish PKP PKP Linia Hutnicza Szerokotorowa (PKP LHS) company started testing a new route to China, which will run through the territory of Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

A test container has been sent to China from Euroterminal in Sławków, owned by PKP LHS. On the way to China, it will pass along the Trans-Caspian route, that is, through the territories of Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

The official opening ceremony of the BTK railway was held in Baku Oct. 30, 2017. The BTK railway was constructed on the basis of the 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.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn

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