AMEC expects new contracts with Middle Corridor development in mind

Transport Materials 28 February 2024 09:01 (UTC +04:00)
AMEC expects new contracts with Middle Corridor development in mind
Lada Yevgrashina
Lada Yevgrashina
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 28. A private Azerbaijani company The Azerbaijan Maritime Engineering & Construction LLC (AMEC), which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2024, expects to increase its contract portfolio given the rapid development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR, or Middle Corridor) and the expected growth in cargo transportation, founder and head of AMEC, Rashad Shakarov in an interview told Trend.

"In 2014, we became the first Azerbaijani maritime consulting and engineering company, and since then, state and private companies operating in Azerbaijan have trusted us to conduct inspections of vessels and marine structures of various types, engineering works on them (design, construction, and modification, assembly-disassembly of vessels, calculations of their stability on the water), as well as search and delivery of in-demand specialized vessels to Baku," he said.

AMEC is the only exclusively Azerbaijani company in this service market, and it is a worthy competitor to specialized foreign companies, as evidenced by the performance of several works for BOS Shelf, JOCAP operating company (delivery of a barge for works on the first stage of development of the Caspian gas condensate field Absheron), and Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ASCO).

Ship inspection
"I worked at bp, and even then I had the idea of creating a specifically Azerbaijani maritime consulting and engineering company. Having established AMEC in 2014, until 2017, I researched in more depth the system of functioning of this industry in the UAE. And since 2017, we have been professionally and regularly conducting inspections of vessels (the vessel's condition, its compliance with all international standards of work safety) and any marine structures upon request from companies and organizations operating in the Caspian Sea," Shakarov said.

Engineering works
Engineering works generate the main income for AMEC, and the company has fulfilled relevant contracts both in Azerbaijan and abroad.

AMEC in Azerbaijan, for example, reactivated the helipad on the flagship crane ship Azerbaijan as part of its modernization.

The portfolio of implemented projects includes the modification of anchor ships and tugboats, a threefold increase in the cargo carrying capacity of the dry cargo ship Four Wind, and others.

An Azerbaijani company carried out work on a mobile offshore production drilling rig (design) on the west coast of India for the famous Indian energy company Ratna MOPU. There were also orders in the Middle East.

Logistics park

"Since we are closely involved in different types of offshore work, we are also conducting marketing research on what kind of offshore vessels both AMEC itself and Azerbaijan need to increase the efficiency of work in the Caspian Sea," Shakarov noted.

According to him, AMEC has on its balance, besides two barges and cargo vehicles, a specialized dredging vessel (dredger), which the company acquired in 2023 and which is still based in the port of Aktau, waiting for orders in the Caspian Sea.

"We want to increase our fleet in 2024 by acquiring vessels for cargo transportation as well as a fleet of vehicles in Azerbaijan to deliver cargo to customers," the head of the company informed.

He believes that ASCO and Azerbaijani ports need to acquire a significant number of large modern dredgers, as the Caspian is shoaling and the issue of works in water areas to deepen the bottom to receive different types of vessels to ensure transportation and transit of cargoes is acute.

"Azerbaijani ports on the Caspian Sea should be able to receive more cargo ships and ensure their full utilization. This will increase Azerbaijan's cargo turnover and the country's revenues. But for this purpose, it is necessary to deepen and widen channels in the water areas of the ports for servicing ships. Wide and deep channels in the ports will allow for receiving more ships, which will have a positive impact on the development of Azerbaijan's economy. The issue of deepening the Caspian Sea bed should be resolved promptly. It is not excluded that in 2024 the bottom of the port of Alat will be deepened," Shakarov noted.

In his opinion, Azerbaijan also needs additional modern crane ships and auxiliary barges.

"Many ASCO vessels are outdated; prompt fleet renewal is required. Azerbaijan is a hub, a cross-point on the way of transportation of cargoes from Asia to Europe and back, and the fleet should correspond," Shakarov believes.

Azerbaijan as a transportation hub

AMEC is interested in the intensive development of Azerbaijan as a major transportation hub. "Azerbaijan plays a key role in the Middle Corridor and other trade and transportation projects, and it should be an effective hub. For this, many procedural and logistical issues need to be thought through and solved. More logistics parks, consolidation of terminals for cargo reception and storage, simplification of customs procedures, and permit systems for cargo carriers are required," the head of AMEC shared his opinion.

He added that the company tries to interact with all transportation, logistics, and forwarding companies operating in the region, as it is interested in increasing the role of Azerbaijan as an important transportation hub.

"In communication with foreign partners, we try to tell more about the transit and logistics potential of Azerbaijan; we are ready to contribute to this," the head of AMEC said.

Meanwhile, Rashad Shakarov recently headed the board of directors of the Caspian Energy Club in the UK.
He will moderate an important event at the Caspian Energy Club on logistics and investments, which will be held on March 21 in Rotterdam (Netherlands).

This conference will be dedicated to the prospects for the development of the Middle Corridor and the transportation and logistics industry in Azerbaijan and the Caspian region.

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