Azerbaijan, Baku / corr. Trend S.Aliyev / The construction of a new Caspian- Azov navigable canal (Eurasia project), proposed by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev , at the Petersburg International Economic Forum, will provide an opportunity to increase the volume of the marine transportations from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea, Azerbaijani transport experts believe.
This project will give an opportunity to unload Volga-Don canal and strengthen the competition which will possibly lead to the simplification of the passage of the vessels via this route.
Presently the passage of the vessels to the Black and Mediterranean Sea and further to world oceans is being carried out via the Russian Volga-Don canal. At present time, Azerbaijan incurs large difficulties in receiving permits to pass via this canal. Thus, the vessels may pass through the Caspian and return to the Black Sea to their permanent working place only once. To resolve this problem, it needs to make amendments to the Russian normative-legal acts.
In 2006 the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company received 25 permits for the passage of 14 vessels via internal waters of Russia. From these, 11 permits were envisaged for the passage into the Caspian and 15 for exit. This year 22 permits have been presented. Azerbaijan hopes to conclude a long-term agreement for the passage into internal waters of Russia. To resolve this problem, it needs to make amendments not only to the Russian Marine Code, but also to the normative-legal acts. Presently the cost of the passage of one Azerbaijani vessel to the internal waters of Russia amounts to $20.000-$25.000. However, Russian vessels pay off $5.000-$6.000 for the same movement. Thus, the passage of the Russian vessels brings immense benefits to the Russian canal services.
In addition, the technical parameters of Volga-Don canal are worse than the proposed Eurasia project.
The Deputy Secretary General of Eurasian Economic Society, Serik Primbetov , said that this canal is intended to be constructed from the Caspian Sea to influx of Don River via Kumo-Manich pit. The canal will be 650 km in length, 80 m in width, 6.5 m in depth and the number of gateway will be 6.
The canal is envisaged for the passage of the vessels of "river-sea" class with a capacity of 3.5-5.5.000 tons with the future use of the vessels of new class with a capacity of up to 10.000 tons.
The duration of the navigations is assessed at 10 to 12 months with a capacity of 40 mln tons per year. The period of the cargo delivery from the Caspian Sea to influx of Don River is 9 to 12 days. The cost of the project is estimated at $2.5 bln and the construction period - 3-5 years.
In addition, it is noted that the capacity of Volga-Don canal is 13 mln tons per year and the gateways in the canal are three times more than the Eurasia canal. The period of the movement of the vessels via Caspian- Azov canal is 4 days, but whilst using Volga-Don - 8 days.