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Establishing Karabakh, Eastern Zangazur transport system gathering pace – commentary on 'Great Return' first state program

20 November 2022 [08:10] - TODAY.AZ

By Trend

The Azerbaijani government is conducting the construction of a strategically important integrated transport infrastructure aimed at supporting the development and reintegration of liberated lands, as part of the 'First state program on the Great Return to Azerbaijan's liberated territories', Trend reports.

From 2022 through 2023, the State Agency of Azerbaijan Automobile Roads will continue the construction of the Talish-Tapgaragoyunlu-Gashalti sanatorium highway, the Barda-Aghdam, Gubadli-Eyvazli, Gubadli-Mahmudlu-Yazduzu-Armenian border, Hadrut-Tugh-Azykh cave, Khudafarin-Gubadli-Lachin, Horadiz-Jabrayil-Zangilan-Aghband highway link with Iran, as well as the construction of bridges along the Araz River and internal roads of Kalbajar and Lachin districts. The country is expected to build internal roads in Aghdam city and establish facilities providing vehicle maintenance in Karabakh.

In addition, the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport will identify places for the construction of bus stations and taxi ranks, and organize regular international, intercity (inter-district) and intra-city (intra-district) road passenger transport.

Within the program, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) CJSC will commission the Lachin International Airport by 2024. Meantime, Azerbaijan Railways CJSC is supposed to build the Barda-Aghdam and Horadiz-Aghband railway lines by the end of 2023 and conduct the reconstruction of the railway infrastructure, as well as the construction of new railway lines and stations by the end of 2026.

Economist Emin Garibli told Trend that Karabakh and East Zangazur are among the regions with great transport and transit potential.

"International transport corridors will run through the liberated territories that will link Asia with Europe. Already today we see great interest in the Zangazur corridor. Connecting East and West through Azerbaijan's territory will reduce transport costs and make this route shorter. The infrastructure of international importance will also accelerate Azerbaijan's integration into the world economy, and provide more employment in the mentioned area. The construction of airports, roads, and railways creates an additional favorable investment climate. It's crucial for the Zangazur corridor to function for the entire world economy, including for Azerbaijan. I believe the return of former refugees to their homes, as well as the implementation of other projects that are critical for the region's future population, will contribute to the corridor's soonest launch," he added.

Garibli underscored Karabakh's rich natural resources and construction of hydroelectric power stations, as well as other infrastructure facilities in the liberated territories.

"All the Karabakh projects implemented within the "Great Return" give grounds to talk about future high employment in this region," he added.

In the first half of 2022, Azerbaijan's income from transport services amounted to $1.3 billion, out of which $1.2 billion came from cargo traffic.

Large-scale projects on transport infrastructure construction have turned the country into an international transport and logistics center and provide new opportunities for increasing trade and economic activity. The development of transport networks will lead to huge economic growth not only for Azerbaijan but also for neighboring countries. It is also worth noting that the transport network in Azerbaijan is closely connected and complementary to other routes and corridors that have a significant impact on international trade development and the creation of a new supply chain.

The Zangazur corridor's role is of utmost necessity in this regard. This corridor will reduce the time for freight transshipment from China to Europe to two weeks, and open new markets for Azerbaijan, including transit to Africa. The cost of transporting goods is also expected to be cut.

Azerbaijan continues investing in transport infrastructure, particularly in Karabakh's roads and railways, and is rebuilding the region's historic ties by linking northern transport networks with southern and eastern ones.


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