Ukraine keen on cargo transportation through Azerbaijan
By Aynur Karimova
Azerbaijan's advantageous geographical position at the crossroads between East and West and developed transport infrastructure, attracts various countries, which wish to transport their cargoes through the country’s territory.
Ukraine has recently expressed desire to use Azerbaijan's territory for transportation of cargo to the Central Asian countries.
Alexander Zavgorodniy, the acting head of Ukrainian Railways, told Trend on January 12 that in the future, Ukraine plans to transport up to 10 million tons of cargo annually to Central Asia through Azerbaijan via Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, which is one of the most promising projects in the region.
Earlier Ukraine offered its cargo companies to use the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route for carrying their goods to Central Asia bypassing Russia.
Ukraine also plans to send a container train on January 15 from Illichivsk, for a test journey to China through Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (across the Caspian and Black seas).
“The purpose [of journey] of the train is to pass the route to Dostyk station on the border between Kazakhstan and China, and by [its] movement to identify all the issues related to transportation through this route,” he said. “In particular, to clarify the timeframes for movement [of the train], the speed of movement on different [railway] sections, and what problems arise in the process in order to further eliminate them and to carry out transportation in line with a plan.”
He also added that the test train will be loaded with goods for export to Kazakhstan. This is mainly food and beverages. Estimated time for the train to reach from Illichivsk to Dostyk is about nine days. It is expected that Ukrainian test container train will consist of 20 wagons.
Ukraine was forced to seek new alternative routes for delivering its goods to consumers following tensions with Russia. In this regard, Trans-Caspian International Transport Route is of significant importance for Kiev.
Trans-Caspian International Transport Route enjoys an opportunity to become attractive and profitable for consignors from European countries.
This route will transport approximately 300,000-400,000 containers by 2020, bringing hundreds of millions of manats in profit to Azerbaijan.
The first container train on this route arrived at Baku International Sea Trade Port from China in August. The train, consisting of 44 wagons, departed from the Alashankou export station of the Chinese Urumqi-Xinjiang province and arrived in Tbilisi in eight days transiting through the territory of Azerbaijan.
An agreement creating a coordinating committee to develop a Trans-Caspian International Transport Route was signed by Kazakh, Georgian, and Azerbaijani representatives in late 2013.
The project is being implemented by Kazakhstan Temyr Zholy, China Railways, Azerbaijan Railways, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Baku International Sea Trade Port.
Growing interest in the transport infrastructures passing through Azerbaijan's territory is expected to make Azerbaijan a major transport hub in the region.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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