Review of Transport sector in Azerbaijan (January-May 2014)

"Much of the government spending has been in recent years aimed at developing the transport sector. Azerbaijan is well aware that it is impossible to fully develop without a modern transport system. The measures related to the city transport are also being carried out. A state program related to the subway development was adopted a few years ago," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said following the Azerbaijan-France Business Forum held in Baku.

Indeed, almost every year, a new subway station has been opened in Baku over the last few years. Under the state program, the number of subway stations must be brought from 23 to 70 by 2030. This will also mean a huge unloading for the whole land transport of the capital.

"There are no problems with financial resources, as we realize these projects through the state budget," the president said.

Seeing the promising outlook, reliability and opportunities for long-term investments in the construction and supply of machinery and equipment, foreign companies began to show interest in participating in a complex of activities.

For instance, Alstom international company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Baku Metro on developing modern subway cars for new lines and in order to gradually replace the existing fleet.

Prior to this, Caspian Mobility Group JV and Baku Metro signed a contract to construct 'green branch' (conventionally called U15) starting from "28 May" station. "Caspian Mobility Group" joint venture was established in collaboration with the French company "Bouygues"

The contract is worth about 450 million AZN. The length of the "green" branch will be 3.5 kilometers. Moreover, as part of reconstruction of the "28 May" station, Accord-Bouygues JV put forward its proposals on conducting construction work.

Additionally, the largest construction company of the Czech Republic, METROSTAV JSC showed interest in participating in construction of new stations of the Baku Metro. The company put forward a proposal on the possibility of using tunnel shields produced by the own technology.

Baku is turning into a megalopolis. Given the crucial role of the capital in the country's economy, (the share of Baku's GDP accounts for over 70 percent of the total volume throughout the country), it needs an effective air transportation system. The development of the Baku subway will make it one of the key segments of this system.

Also in May:

- Azerbaijan and Asian Development Bank signed a loan agreement under the fourth project of the Road Network Development Program. Some $45 million will be allocated for the construction of four bridges (one railway viaduct and three bridges across the river), reconstruction of the local roads in the city of Ganja (365 kilometers west from Baku).

- Alstom International company will supply around 50 KZ8A freight locomotives for the Azerbaijani railways. The total cost of the contract is €300 million. The contract also includes the construction of a depot, technical assistance and maintenance, as well as training of the staff.

- Azerbaijan Railways CJSC has started overhaul of the Pirsaat-Hajigabul railway section. The work is being carried out on the specified section as part of overhaul of the Baku-Boyuk Kesik railway (in the direction of Georgia). The Baku-Georgian border railway is part of a rail link project along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route.

- Azerbaijan has started project development to create a new airport in the country's north (Guba region).

- The Taghiyev-Sahil road, running from the Garadagh region to the Sumgait city, opened after the capital reconstruction. The construction work on the road, with a total length of nearly 42 kilometers, was funded under the agreement signed between the Azerbaijani government and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The width of the road is 15 meters, while its length, including the interchanges is 48 kilometers.

- Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) CJSC opened flights to four Russian cities as of May 20. Flights to Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm and Rostov-on-Don will be made by AZAL aircraft two times a week for each.

The Azerbaijani transport sector transported 87.4 million tonnes of cargo in January-May, 2014 or by 2.1 percent more than in the same period of 2013, the Azerbaijani State Statistical Committee said in its report.

The volume of non-oil goods increased by 3.7 percent and stood at 60.5 million tonnes in January-May, according to the report.

Around 75.6 percent of the total volume of goods transported in January-May, fell to the private sector.

Some 55.4 percent of all cargo was transported via vehicles, 30.4 percent - via pipelines, 9.5 percent - railway and 4.7 percent - via maritime transport.

Azerbaijan's transport sector transported some 218 million tonnes of cargo in 2013, which is 3.4 percent more than in 2012.

Some 709.8 million people used passenger transport in January-May, which is 5.8 percent more than in the same period of 2013. Most of the passengers were transported by vehicles (86.9 percent) and metro (12.9 percent).

Automobile transport takes the lion share in the transport field of the country. Some 48.3 million tonnes of cargo were transported by vehicles, which is three percent more than in January-May 2013. The volume of passenger traffic hit 616.9 million people (a 6.1 percent growth). Some 96.1 percent of the passengers were transported by buses and 3.9 percent - by cars.

Freight turnover by vehicles increased by 3.1 percent during the reporting period, while passenger turnover - by 6.8 percent.

Some 8.3 million tonnes of cargo were transported by rail in January-May, compared to 9.2 million tonnes in the same period of 2013.

In average, the number of loaded carriages made 552 per day and unloaded - 576. The average daily load of carriages in the northern direction stood at 19,600 tonnes, western direction 6,800 tonnes and southern direction - 5,400 tonnes.

Around 4.2 million tonnes of cargo were transported by ships, compared to 5.1 million tonnes in Jan.-May 2013. All cargo accounted for international operations. The volume of goods handled in Azerbaijani ports amounted to 5.3 million tonnes in January-May 2014.

Some 59 percent of cargo shipping fell to oil and oil products, while 41 percent to dry cargo. The volume of international transit cargo handled in the ports hit 87.4 percent. Around 62,100 tonnes of cargo left in the ports for import as of June 1, 2014.

Some 19.8 million tonnes of oil (a 9.4 percent growth) were transported via main oil pipelines in Jan.-May 2014. During this period, 75 percent or 15 million tonnes of oil were transported via the BTC. Sangachal terminal transported 2.3 million tonnes of Turkmen oil via BTC in Jan.-May.

Gas transportation via main gas pipelines made up 9.5 billion cubic meters (a 11.7 percent increase) in Jan.-May. Some 28.8 percent of the transported gas fell to the South Caucasus Pipeline. Some 2.7 billion cubic meters of gas were transported via this pipeline.

Some 609,100 passengers were transported by air transport in Jan.-May, which is 3.22 percent more than in the same period of 2013. Some 0.2 percent of shipment by this kind of transport fell to private sector.

Some 91.3 million people were transported by metro (a 4.22 percent growth) compared to Jan.-May 2013.

Some 13.9 million tonnes of cargo were transported through the Eurasian transport corridor TRACECA (Europe-Caucasus-Asia) through the territory of Azerbaijan in January-April 2014, compared to 14.7 million tonnes in January-April 2013.

Around 50.4 percent of the total volume of transported cargo fell to vehicles, 32.9 percent - railway and 16.7 percent - ships.

Some 74.9 million people were transported through the corridor in January-April, which is 7.9 percent more than in the same period of 2013, according to the report.

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