Review of transport sector in Azerbaijan (January-March 2017)

A number of important events took place in the Azerbaijani transport sector in March 2016:

- Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia have agreed on the conditions for the transportation of goods by railway and ferry in Alat-Aktau-Alat and Alat-Kuryk-Alat directions, the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company said.

A meeting was held in Aktau among representatives of Kazakhstan Railways JSC, Georgian Railways LLC, Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, Aktau International Sea Trade Port JSC, Baku International Sea Trade Port and Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company.

Following the meeting, a protocol was signed.

- Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia agreed to reduce railway tariffs by 50 percent to intensify cargo transportation along the North-South international transport corridor, Iran.ru portal reported.

In particular, representatives of three countries at the meeting in Moscow exchanged views on organizing cargo transportation as part of the North-South corridor through the territory of Azerbaijan, as well as the development of the transit potential of the Iranian border terminal in Astara, the message said.

The main purpose of the trilateral session was to set preferential tariff rates for 2017 with the aim of intensifying the route for the transportation of goods from Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia and Finland to the Persian Gulf countries, India and back. The meeting participants reached a consensus on tariff rates.

The North-South transport corridor will connect Northern Europe with India and South-East Asia. It will also serve as a bridge for connecting the railways of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia. At the first stage, 6 million tons of cargo are planned to be transported along the North-South corridor, and 15-20 million tons of cargo in the future.

Baku Shipyard LLC has started construction of two new unique Ro-Pax (roll-on/roll-off passenger) ferries, Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev said.

“It is planned to complete the construction of the ferries by the end of 2018,” the minister said.

The construction of the Ro-Pax ferries will play an important role in increasing Azerbaijan’s transport potential and in general will have a positive impact on the development of the country’s economy, the minister added.

A contract worth 132 million manat was signed Oct. 26, 2016 in Azerbaijan for construction of two new unique Ro-Pax ferries.

The ferries will be built at Baku Shipyard LLC by the order of the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping CJSC. The project’s designer is Ukraine’s Marine Engineering Bureau.

The ferries are designed for freight and passenger traffic. The vessel with deadweight of 5,540 tons will be able to carry up to 56 tanks, 46 gondola cars, 44 freight cars, 50 trucks and will have 100 passenger seats.

- A high-ranking official with the Iranian railways organization has briefed Trend on the latest developments concerning Azerbaijan’s plans to invest in the development of his country’s railway system in a bid to help the full activation of the International North-South Transportation Corridor.

Nourollah Beiranvand, the deputy for planning and investment at the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, says the Azerbaijani officials have recently agreed to provide 60 million euros for developing railway facilities in Astara City (Iran).

According to the official, about a half of it is projected to finance the construction of a 1.4 kilometer-long railway in Astara as well as the railway station building.

The remaining half will go for the construction of four terminals of fuelling, general cargo, grain and containers, he said.

The official underscored that the annual capacity of the corridor for transferring goods is expected to hike by two million tons after finalizing the project for creating railway facilities in Astara city.

Elaborating on the details of the agreement, Nourollah Beiranvand added that the Azerbaijani side has also undertaken covering investment risks of the project.

- Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan agreed to create a joint working group on development of transit freight traffic, said the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping CJSC.

The message says that this agreement was reached during the trilateral meeting of leadership of the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping CJSC, Azerbaijan Railways CJSC and Uzbekistan Railways JSC, held in Baku.

According to the message, the main task of the working group will be the analysis of the cargo market, the study of transportation technologies, preparation and implementation of marketing strategy and others.

The sides also signed a tripartite memorandum on development of freight traffic from Europe to Central Asia and Afghanistan and vice versa. The document also says that the parties have identified the products that will be transported via this route.

Some 49.6 million tons of cargo were carried by Azerbaijani modes of transport in January-March 2017 or by 2.9 percent more than in January-March 2016, the Azerbaijani State Statistics Committee’s report said.

According to the report, the volume of non-oil cargo increased by 5.5 percent for the year and reached 35.9 million tons.

Around 77.3 percent of the total volume of goods transported accounted for the private sector during the reporting period.

Some 58 percent of all cargo were transported by vehicles, 29.9 percent - by pipelines, 8.1 percent - by railway, 3.9 percent - by ships, 0.1 percent – planes.

Some 448.2 million people used passenger transport in January-March 2017, which is by 2.5 percent more than in January-March 2016. Most of the passengers were transported by vehicles (87.4 percent), metro (12.4 percent) and the rest part – other modes of transport.

Automobile transport takes the lion share in the transport field of the country. Some 28.8 million tons of cargo were transported by vehicles in January-March 2017, which is by 2.3 percent more than in January-March 2016.

Some 391.8 million people were transported by vehicles in January-March 2017, which is by 1.9 percent more compared to January-March 2016. Some 96.1 percent of the passengers were transported by buses and 3.9 percent - by cars.

Freight turnover by vehicles increased by 2.2 percent during the reporting period, while passenger turnover - by 2 percent.

Some 4 million tons of cargo were transported by railway in January-March 2017 or by 16.5 percent more than in January-March 2016.

On average per day, the number of loaded carriages made up 369 and unloaded - 432.

Average daily load of carriages in the northern direction is 14,200 tons, in western direction - 5,200 tons and in southern direction – 900 tons.

Around 1.92 million tons of cargo were transported by ships in January-March 2017 or by 52.3 percent more than in January-March 2016. Some 45.6 percent of the transported goods accounted for oil cargo. The volume of goods handled in Azerbaijani ports amounted to 2.73 million tons in January-March 2017.

The volume of international transit cargo handled in the country’s ports reached 95.7 percent. As of April 1, 2017, 70,400 tons of import cargo left in the ports for transportation.

Some 10.36 million tons of oil were transported via main oil pipelines in January-March 2017. Some 77.9 percent or 8.07 million tons of transported oil accounted for BTC.

Some 1.55 million tons of transit oil were transported via the BTC in January-March 2017.

Gas transportation via the main gas pipelines made up 6.22 billion cubic meters in January-March 2017 or by 8 percent more than in January-March 2016. Some 30.4 percent of the transported gas accounted for the South Caucasus Pipeline. Almost 1.89 billion cubic meters of gas were transported via this pipeline.

Some 440,700 passengers were transported by air transport in January-March 2017 which is by 25.7 percent more than in January-March 2016. Some 0.1 percent of shipment by this kind of transport accounted for the private sector.

Some 55.4 million people were transported by metro increasing by 6.1 percent in January-March 2017 compared to January-March 2016.

Some 8.92 million tons of cargo were transported through the Eurasian transport corridor TRACECA (Europe-Caucasus-Asia) in January-February 2017, which is by 13.9 percent more than in the same period of 2016, the committee said.

Around 57.9 percent of the total volume of transported cargo accounted for vehicles, 29.1 percent – railway, 13 percent – ships. Some 21.3 percent of cargo accounted for transit.

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