Azerbaijan Transport Minister: Azerbaijan Ready to Finance Georgia to Build Railway Kars-Alhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku

Business Materials 12 January 2007 17:29 (UTC +04:00)

Ziya Mammadov, Azerbaijan Transport Minister, is visiting Georgia, and said today in Tbilisi that Azerbaijan is ready to give all required volume of financing to Georgia in order to finance the construction of the railway - Kars-Alhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku, Trend Correspondent to Tbilisi reports.

We are ready to give as much money as required to build the Georgian section of the railway, said Mr. Mammadov.

He said that during the first round of the today negotiations, the parties have viewed all issues on the implementation of the project and have optimistic views.

The present negotiations are being held without Turkish Transport Minister, Binali Yildirim, though it was earlier reported that the negotiations would have a trilateral format.

During the interval in the negotiations, it was clear that all issues with the Turkish party were agreed, and there was no need in the presence of Mr. Yildirim.

Irakli Ezubbaya, the Director general of Georgian Railways LLC, informed journalists that at the present stage, the matter concerned the project on the implementation of the schedule on the railway construction - Kars-Alhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku.

Particularly, we are viewing the three components вЂ" the reconstruction of the section вЂ" Marabda-Akhalkalaki, building of a new 28-km railway вЂ" Akhalkalaki-Kartsakhi, and the construction of a spare parts plant in Akhalkalaki, he said

Mr. Ezugbaya said that all that work will increase the capacity of the railway up to the projected one - 15 mln. tons per year.

As to the issue on financing, according to the calculations made by the Director General, it is the question of $220 mln. to be granted by Azerbaijan as a long-term credit for not less than 25 years. We have not decided yet who will return the credit. However, after the work is carried out, the commodity turnover of loads and the profitability of the project will cover the whole credit by itself, said Mr. Ezugbaya.

According to him, the loads will be carried both from Kazakhstan to Europe and China to Europe. The Azerbaijan Transport Minister and Georgia Economic Minister, Giorgi Arveladze said that the construction work will start in the second quarter of 2007.

Mr. Ezugbaya said that the rehabilitation work on the Georgian section of the existing railway would be commenced even earlier than the other ones. The parties highlighted that the whole project must be completed in 2-3 years.