Transport corridor via Azerbaijan must become priority in cargo transportation - Turkish minister
The Trans-Caspian transport corridor, passing through Azerbaijan, must become a priority in cargo transportation to the Central Asian countries, rather than an alternative in case of problems, Binali Yildirim, Turkish minister of transport, shipping and communications, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
The minister said that Turkey intends to increase the number of freight wagons transported via the Caspian Sea from 4,000 to 20,000 a year.
"If this route proves to be effective, the number of freight wagons transported via the Caspian Sea is expected to be increased up to 10,000 in 2016, up to 15,000 in 2017, and up to 20,000 in 2018."
The minister went on to say that for this purpose, along with a regular ferry service between Baku and Aktau, it is necessary to arrange a ferry service between the ports of Baku and Turkmenbashi.
He said that the cargo from Turkey will be transported to the Central Asian countries through the Baku-Aktau ferry service, carried out on Tuesdays and Fridays.
"Moreover, the ferry trips from Aktau to Baku will be made on Wednesdays and Saturdays," Yıldırım said.
The minister said that an increase in the cargo transportation volumes from Turkey through the territory of Azerbaijan will increase the attractiveness of this route.
"Our ultimate goal is to transport the goods via the Caspian Sea without going through the documents," he said. "The problems recently faced by Turkey in cargo transportation to the Central Asian countries through Russia and Iran, make transportation via the Caspian Sea relevant."
"As it is known, after the Ankara-Moscow relations deteriorated, an agreement was reached as part of the meetings between Turkish and Azerbaijani foreign ministers," the minister said. "According to the agreement, the Turkish trucks, detained on the Georgian-Russian border, should use the territory of Azerbaijan and not to pay the penalties in case of changing the route."
He said that following the talks held with the Azerbaijani side, an agreement was reached to reduce the transit fee.
The minister added that moreover, an agreement on the efficient use of the territory of Azerbaijan as a transit country was reached for the transportation of goods to the Central Asian countries.
"The fee for transit through Azerbaijan was reduced from $520 to $220," Yıldırım said.