Weekly economic review (02.08- 07.08.2010)

Analysis Materials 10 August 2010 14:03 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia signed a tripartite protocol on the results of the second meeting of the Coordinating Council for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in Baku on Aug. 3. The Protocol was signed by Azerbaijani Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov, Turkish Minister of Transportation Binali Yildirim and Georgian Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Ramaz Nikolashvili.

Turkish minister said that the Chinese side is interested and intends to transport 10 million tons of cargo a year via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Afterwards, the corridor from China and Central Asia through the Caucasus and Turkey to Europe will appear. Large volumes of cargo will be transported via the corridor in both directions.

It is planned to construct a new 105-kilometer branch railroad as a part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. About 76 kilometers will stretch on the territory of Turkey, 29 km - Georgia. Moreover, a railway section Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda will be reconstructed in Georgia to increase capacity up to 15 million tons of cargo a year.

Work on opening railway transport on the route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will be completed in the first half of 2012, the Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said during at the meeting of the Coordinating Council in Baku. He said despite the previously agreed terms of the project's implementation, the side are working to accelerate the process and complete most of the work before late 2011. One of the most complex processes is laying the tunnel between Georgia and Turkey, which will pass through the mountain terrain. The length of the tunnel will be 4,500 km.

During the Coordinating Council's meeting, the sides stated that before late 2010 it's planned to complete 50 percent of work - both construction of a new railway station and the rehabilitation of 160-km section in Georgia. Mammadov said that recently roughly 25 units of new technologies have been delivered to speed up works on the territory of Turkey.

Realization of the project to open the railway Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will create conditions for further strengthening of strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said at the second meeting of the Coordinating Council in Baku today.

He said that now the parties cooperate within two major energy projects - Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline. The establishment of railway communication between the two countries will further strengthen strategic cooperation.

The opening of this rail link will provide a way out of Asia through the Caucasus and Turkey to Europe.

Minister said that holding of the second meeting of the coordinating council is very important in terms of a dialogue between the parties to discuss the progress of the project and resolve problems.

Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said that the work is carried out in accordance with the schedule. Afterwards, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will provide a direct rail connection between the three countries.

Georgian minister of regional development and infrastructure Ramaz Nikolashvili said that Azerbaijan and Georgia held talks on the transport corridor. He expressed confidence that the agreements will ensure timely implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project and putting it into operation in time.