Weekly economic review (Oct. 10-14)
Last week Azerbaijan celebrated the Day of Railwaymen timed to the 20th anniversary of the restoration of state independence.
On this day, Azerbaijan Railways JSC put into operation a new administrative building of the railway station in the town of Khirdalan. The head of JSC Arif Askerov attended the opening ceremony of the new building.
It was noted at the event that the construction of the railway corridor Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) is carried out in accordance with the timetable and rail links will be put into operation by late 2012 - early 2013.
Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey signed a final document on the construction of BTK in February 2007 in Tbilisi. A new 105-kilometer railroad branch will be constructed as a part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway. About 76 kilometers will stretch via Turkey, and 29 kilometers through Georgia. Moreover, an Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway section will be reconstructed in Georgia to increase transport capacity to up to 15 million tons of cargo per year. A point of train transition from the existing train tracks in Georgia to the European one is planned to be built in Akhalkalaki. Azerbaijan allocated a loan worth $775 million for the construction of the Georgian section. This project is financed by the State Oil Fund according to the Azerbaijani president's decree "On realization of measures on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project" dated February 21, 2007.
The process of creating a new railway Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is planned to be completed by late 2012, CJSC Azerbaijan Railways chief engineer Gurban Nazirov said.
By late 2011, Azerbaijan Railways plans to reconstruct 36 kilometers of the Baku-Boyuk Kesik railway section, which is part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars transport corridor. The total length of the section, which will be reconstructed, is 317 kilometers. So far around 11.5 kilometers of the section has been reconstructed, and by late 2011 this figure will reach 36 kilometers. Azerbaijan has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank to allocate $450 million to be spent for purchasing new locomotives and transferring the railway's work to alternating-current system.
With regards to innovation in sale of tickets, the JSC plans to begin on-line sale of tickets for passenger trains by late of year. At the initial stage, the innovation was referred only to international trains. Given the increasing flow of tourists to Georgia from Azerbaijan (and citizens of the Republic mainly use the same railway) Azerbaijan Railways JSC is ready to launch special tourist passenger trains on the Baku-Tbilisi-Baku line.