TODAY.AZ / Business

Volume of freight traffic via North-South corridor to reach 2 mln tons in 2018

07 November 2017 [13:40] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Kamila Aliyeva

Azerbaijan is taking consistent steps to turn into major transport hub by participating in a number of international projects aimed at creating various transport routes.

The North-South corridor is one of such projects and Azerbaijan has already prepared the entire infrastructure on its territory to realize this transport route.

The volume of cargo transportation at the existing section of the international North-South transport corridor is forecasted at the level of 1.5-2 million tons in 2018, Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Igbal Huseynov told journalists at a briefing in Baku on November 7.

He noted that the Azerbaijani section of the corridor from Astara to the Iranian border and the bridge over the Astarachay River are completely ready to be commissioned.

Meanwhile, railroad bed has been laid from the bridge to the terminal in Iran’s Astara. In this direction the work continues, said Huseynov.

“Official opening of four terminals for container, general cargo, transported by universal rolling stock, oil and grain cargoes is planned. It is also expected to open the connecting branch on the Iranian territory in late December,” he added.

At the first stage, it is planned to limit to two terminals - container and general cargo, the deputy chairman noted.

The International North-South Transport Corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. At the initial stage, it is planned to transport 5 million tons of cargo per year through the corridor and over 10 million tons of cargo in the future.

Along with making a great contribution to the diversification of Azerbaijan's economy the project is expected to turn the country into a major transport hub.

The project, which is considered to be a strategically important and advantageous in terms of time of transit cargo transportation, is also expected to bring great economic benefits.  This corridor, part of which will pass along the western coast of the Caspian Sea, from Russia to Iran through Azerbaijan enjoys several advantages compared to the others, such as Suez Canal-the Mediterranean Sea-Northern Europe and the Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Northern Europe routes.

Meanwhile, Huseynov noted that the next meeting of the working group on development of the western direction of the international North-South railway corridor can be held in India.

He said that recently, at an informal meeting of representatives of railway authorities of Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran and Belarus, the idea was put forward to hold the upcoming meetings outside of the four countries with the participation of shipping companies and importers.

“This is not only about India, but also about the countries of Scandinavia, Northern Europe. If our experts support this idea, then we will add it in the protocol, but there is no such decision so far,” added Huseynov.


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