By Aynur Karimova
In the first few years, member-states of the Trans-Caspian international transport route will earn a net profit of $1 billion, Akif Mustafayev, told Trend.
The TRACECA (Europe-Caucasus-Asia) transport cooperation program national secretary on Azerbaijan said that profits for Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey will increase in the future as a result of freight transportation via this route.
The Trans-Caspian international transport route runs through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey and then through to Europe. The first test container train arrived at the Baku International Sea Trade Port from China via this route on August 3.
“The train has arrived from China to Azerbaijan, but it is necessary that this route gets extended through Georgia and Turkey, and then further to Europe,” he said. “Work is currently underway in this regard, and the arrival of the first train gives hope that the work will be completed in the near future.”
Mustafayev said that in general, all the projects realized recently – including the construction and renovation of the railway in Azerbaijan, the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway’s section and a new international seaport in Alat – are aimed at establishing a transit corridor from China to Europe.
“The goal is to achieve high-level cargo transportations from China to Europe via TRACECA. This container train was, as they say, the harbinger," he noted.
The first container train that arrived in Baku consisted of 82 containers and 41 platforms, and departed from China’s Shihezi city on July 28. It traveled more than 4,000 kilometers, passing through the Kazakh port of Aktau.
It is expected that approximately 300,000-400,000 containers will be transported via this route by 2020, bringing hundreds of millions of manat in profit to Azerbaijan. Also, Azerbaijan Railways JSC can earn $600-700 million from transit traffic by 2020.
The Trans-Caspian international transport route has the opportunity to become an attractive and profitable venture for consignors from European countries.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, is keen on increasing its trade operations with the world. Beijing recently has devalued its national currency, the yuan, by 4.6 percent with an aim to boost exports by making its goods cheaper abroad.
China also hopes to develop the multibillion-dollar Silk Road project, initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013 with an aim to connect China with Europe and strengthen cooperation between Asia and Africa.
The volume of trade between China and Europe, which today amounts to around $600 billion, is forecasted to exceed 170 million tons, or $800 billion by 2020. Goods from China are transported either via expensive air routes, or by lengthy sea routes.
It is expected that after fully establishing the new transit route from China to Europe via Central Asia and the Caucasus, cargoes will be delivered to European consumers using a shorter, faster, and cheaper route.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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