Review of main events in Azerbaijan's transport sector in 2020

Transport Materials 5 January 2021 13:05 (UTC +04:00)
Review of main events in Azerbaijan's transport sector in 2020

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.5


Secretary General of the Permanent Secretariat of Inter-Governmental Commission of Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) Aset Asavbayev said in an interview with Trend that in 2020, TRACECA was involved in developing the whole transport corridor by introducing new equipment, digital technologies in the field of transport, developing border infrastructure, introducing and developing scanners to improve the identification of goods that don’t meet international norms and standards.

ADY Container, a subsidiary of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC said that the company cooperates with such countries as China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Georgia, Poland, Ukraine, Switzerland, Iran, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other countries, as well as signed contracts with Japan and South Korea. A goal was set before the company to increase traffic by 50 percent in 2020.

Besides, Balakhan Nazarov, head of the company’s press service emphasized that exported goods from Azerbaijan are most in demand in China, Turkey and Russia and include juices, mineral waters, chemical products, vegetables and fruits.

Permanent Representative (National Secretary) of TRACECA in Azerbaijan Akif Mustafayev said in one of interviews with Trend on the East-West-East route along TRACECA, modernization of railways and highways alongside commissioning of modern vehicles such as electric locomotives, wagons (freight and passenger), new ferries, tankers, Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) ships (for horizontal loading and unloading), dry cargo ships, multi-tonnage trucks and modern buses was carried out.

Also, the development of the Baku International Sea Trade Port, and the creation of a free economic zone in the Alat settlement in Baku’s Garadagh District, were conducted. The latest technological equipment will be used at border customs points, which will further simplify the procedures for crossing customs points during transit traffic.

Besides, he noted that the construction of the Kars-Igdir-Nakhchivan railway, which will connect Turkey with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan by rail, was planned to be commissioned by the end of 2020.

He also announced the introduction of the TIR Electronic Pre-Declaration (TIR-EPD) under the procedure of the international road transport. In June 2019, the customs administrations of Azerbaijan and Iran successfully launched the e-TIR pilot project to fully digitize this process.

“The international transit customs system provides maximum opportunities for cargo movement across the borders. In view of the expected strengthening of world trade, the future expansion of geographical borders and the upcoming introduction of the electronic TIR system (the so-called e-TIR system), it is assumed that it will become a truly global transit customs system,” Mustafayev added.

In addition to all the above, this year a meeting of the working group of the Baku International Sea Trade Port CJSC (Port of Baku) and Rail Cargo Group, a subsidiary of the Austrian Federal Railways in Azerbaijan, was held, where a memorandum of understanding was signed between the General Director of Port of Baku Taleh Ziyadov and member of the Supervisory Board of Rail Cargo Group Thomas Kargl, and a protocol on further joint steps within the project ‘Promoting green ports and communications in the Caspian Sea region’ was adopted.

The number of hybrid cars and the demand for them are increasing in Azerbaijan, Eldaniz Jafarov, public relations specialist at the Toyota Center Baku said in one of his interviews with Trend.

According to him, cars with a hybrid engine have been officially sold in Azerbaijan since 2012 and also service of such cars created in the country by the official dealer of Toyota.

“Currently, hybrid sedans and crossovers are officially sold in Azerbaijan, and their total number on the roads is more than 5,000. But most of these cars are old, and they can be attributed to cars that have specifications of the US market. The relatively low price and fuel economy make these cars attractive. Decrease in duties on hybrid cars stimulates renewal of Azerbaijan’s fleet in their favor,” added the expert.

In April of this year, the Baku seaport reported that the Port for the first time carried out the transportation of bulk cargo (urea) received from Turkmenistan by container. Usually such goods are transported in special hopper wagons (bunker). Now, from the point of view of saving time and method of transportation, the Baku port has an advantage in the transportation of bulk cargo both by wagons and containers.

One of the remarkable events in Azerbaijan’s maritime transport sector was inclusion of the Lachin tanker built on the basis of the design of the Odessa Marine Engineering Bureau into the list of the top 50 civil vessels according to the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

Another success of Azerbaijan’s railway transport sector was cooperation of the country with Japan within the synergy of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway with the potential of the Trans-Siberian railway.

Spokesman for Azerbaijan’s ADY Express LLC Ilham Abdulov said that on November 25, 2019, as part of the tenth meeting of the State Commission on Economic Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Japan, the management of Azerbaijan Railways company, ADY Express and ADY Container visited more than 10 major logistics companies and cargo holdings in Japan.

“The visits were dedicated to the commissioning of the BTK railway and Azerbaijan’s membership in the Coordinating Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation, as well as the transportation of goods along the Japan-Russia-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-Europe route," he noted.

Abdulov added the cooperation of Azerbaijan with Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic is carried out mainly within the East-West transport corridor.

In an interview with Trend, the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan, pointed out the country is an initiator and active participant in a number of projects to develop Eurasian transport links along routes passing through the territory of the Caucasus region.

The ministry noted that successful completion of one of the strategically important regional infrastructure projects - the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway (opened on October 30, 2017) and the largest in the Caspian Sea, Baku International Sea Trade Port (opened on May 14, 2018) is a vivid example of the transit and transport policy of Azerbaijan, as a country that doesn’t have access to the open sea.

In another interview with the Permanent Representative of TRACECA in Azerbaijan, Akif Mustafayev, he said that currently about 2,000 vehicles are involved in the international cargo transportation in Azerbaijan.

He noted that Azerbaijan has regular road freight traffic using the TIR permit system with a number of countries: with Turkey, Iran, Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. In addition to these countries, there is still an irregular communication with 15 countries in accordance with bilateral agreements in the field of international road freight transport.

Towards the end of 2020, Thales International Azerbaijan’s technical director Mikhail Malinovsky told Trend about the company’s ensuring the safety of the movement of rail vehicles in Azerbaijan.

“Moreover, Thales can introduce new European systems in Azerbaijan. This is an integrated approach, where it is necessary to take into account the technologies and territories for the introduction of new systems. If, for example, we take into account that the trains that are currently equipped with the old system will move from the center of Azerbaijan to the territory where modern railways exist, then here it’s necessary to renew the old system with the European one,” he added.

The Baku Sea Trade Port told Trend that the first freight train with export goods from Turkey to China will transit through Port Of Baku. The total length of the route of the train loaded with 42 containers with refrigerators made in Turkey is 8,693 kilometers (two continents, two seas and five countries). The estimated travel time is 12 days.

Besides, an official representative of ADY Express LLC told Trend that Azerbaijan will sign an agreement on the transportation of local goods to China, the terms and details of which will become known in early 2021.

At the regular meeting of the International Transport Forum’s member countries on the topic of the transport sector, held as a videoconference, the Azerbaijani side was represented by Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Elmir Valizadeh, where he noted that Azerbaijan is responsible for its obligations, being a reliable transit and logistics center, providing unimpeded transit traffic through its territory.

He stressed that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to maintain open trade between countries and the smooth implementation of international cargo transportation. In accordance with the decision of the Azerbaijani government, drivers of foreign trucks can freely enter the territory of Azerbaijan or transit through the territory of the country.

Valizadeh added that the tendencies in the development of the transport sector during the pandemic once again demonstrated the importance of applying modern technologies, including the digitalization of transport operations and services.

Trend’s Economic Department