TODAY.AZ / Business

TRACECA national secretary talks increasing cargo traffic via Azerbaijan

16 October 2018 [10:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Narmina Mammadova

Azerbaijan, which strives to become a key link between Europe and Asia, is taking part in a number of major transport and logistics projects, including East-West and North-South International Transport Corridors.

In recent years, the country became one of the main logistics hubs in Eurasia thanks to its active involvement in transport corridors, which are of huge political, economic and strategic importance.

National Secretary of the Transport Cooperation Program (TRACECA) on Azerbaijan Akif Mustafayev in his interview with Trend noted that Azerbaijan has all opportunities to significantly increase the volume of cargo transit through its territory.

He stressed that it is necessary to solve several issues to achieve this goal.

"One of the tasks is to attract carriers from other countries, for example, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan and other countries need to work to improve the border crossing procedures. Also relevant is the issue of changing wheels of trains at the border of Georgia with Turkey, because a wide railway track is used in Azerbaijan and Georgia, and a narrow railway track is used in Turkey and European countries," Mustafayev said.

This increases the period of transportation, the national secretary added.

"Also the introduction of a single tariff for transportation from China to Europe through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey is under discussion. This will allow shippers to pay a single tariff to a single operator for transportation," Mustafayev said.

In short, he said, there are deficiencies which should be eliminated, but the prospects of cargo transportation through Azerbaijan by means of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars corridor are great.

"This can be judged at least by the fact that the volume of traffic is constantly growing," the national secretary noted.

Earlier, it was reported that Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine may establish a joint venture to introduce the principle of "single window" in the processing of goods transported along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).

It is expected that this year, new competitive tariffs will be imposed on cargo transportation through TITR. At the same time, the volume of cargo to be transported through TITR during 2018 has been approved at more than 3.5 million tons, while about 15,000 containers are planned to be transported from Turkey to Kazakhstan, Central Asia and China.

The national secretary stressed that the volume of supplies from China to Europe will allow loading all available routes.

"Azerbaijan has recently put into operation the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. I note that Azerbaijan does not need to compete with Russia. There are lots of cargoes in Asia, especially in China, and they will be more than enough for all," the national secretary added.

Russia accounts for only about four percent of the cargo traffic from China, and only two percent is enough for us to increase transit volumes by a hundred times, Mustafayev concluded.

Azerbaijan is interested in the development both "North-South" and "West-East" Transport Corridors since the country is a central territory in both cases.

The TRACECA program was established at the Brussels conference on 3 May 1993 which was attended by the ministers of transport and trade of eight states -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.

The Europe-Caucasus-Asia Transport Corridor (TRACECA) is involved in gradually developing trends of trade and economic development. Major traffic flows passing through a corridor formed on the one hand, in Western and Central Europe, and on the other - in Central and South-East Asia.

Two very important international transport corridors pass through Azerbaijan - the international North-South corridor connecting India, Iran, Azerbaijan, North-West Russia and the Baltic sea region, as well as the transport corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia – TRACECA, which is a part of the new Silk Road and creates a strategic link between the Caspian and the Black seas.

In this regard, Azerbaijan has excellent prospects for the development of freight transport. The development of railway communication with Iran will strengthen the North-South corridor, and the recently opened Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line will develop freight traffic in the East-West direction.

In January-June 2018, cargo transit through Azerbaijan’s territory via TRACECA increased by more than three percent.

Some 62.2 percent of the total volume of transported cargo accounted for vehicles, 23.5 percent - railway and 14.3 percent – ships, said the report.

TRACECA is an international cooperation program in the field of transport between the EU and partner countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia. The organization has a permanent secretariat in Baku.


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