Azerbaijan, Russia create JV on grain supply [UPDATE]
By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan Railways CJSC and Rusagrotrans CJSC, Russia's rail infrastructure operator providing transportation of grain and agricultural bulk cargoes, agreed to create a joint venture AzRusTrans CJSC.
Appropriate documents were signed at a meeting in Baku on October 10.
The new company was created with the aim of increasing share of rail transportation in freight turnover between Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia and Turkey.
The meeting also saw AzRusTrans to sign its first agreement on the purchase of 500 grain carriers from Azerbaijan Railways.
The agreement was inked by Deputy Chairman of CJSC Azerbaijani Railways Vusal Aslanov and Board Chairman of CJSC AzRusTrans Javid Guliyev.
Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov, addressing the presentation of the joint venture, said that 51 percent stake in the company is owned by the Azerbaijan side, and 49 percent – by Rusagrotrans CJSC.
The main goal of the company is to increase cargo transportation through Azerbaijan, Guliyev noted. “Tentatively, the car fleet of the company amounts to nearly 75,000 cars, and currently, this is a record figure in the CIS.”
He added that AzRusTrans, managing the fleet of 3,500 cars, expects to transport up to 2 million tons of cargo annually by transit through the territory of Azerbaijan by 2020, and to increase this figure up to 5.5 million tons in the future.
AzRusTrans will organize transportation of various types of cargo, including grain and other bulk agricultural goods, timber, mineral fertilizers, construction, container, packaged and bulk cargoes.
Javid Gurbanov also touched upon the work over the North-South Transport Corridor.
Construction of the railway line from the station Astara to the border with Iran in the framework of the Corridor is completed by 90 percent, he said.
The work is carried out in conjunction with the Iranian side, and it will be completed in a month.
Currently, seven of the 8.3 km of railroad is already completed, and work on the remaining area is close to completion, said Gurbanov. “Moreover, work on construction of a bridge across the Astarachay river is also being finalized – all supports of the bridge are already built, as well as construction of access roads.”
The implementation of the North-South Transport Corridor project envisages linking-up of railways of Azerbaijan, Iran, and Russia. Some five million tons of freight per year is expected to be transported by means of the corridor in the initial stage.
The North-South corridor, from India to Helsinki, with a length of 7,200 kilometers is designed to carry more than 20 million tons per year. It is a multimodal route for transportation of passengers and cargo from Russia's St. Petersburg to the Mumbai port.
Loads on the route will move through the territory of India, and then - the Persian Gulf, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, in the direction of the Nordic countries and Northern Europe in just 14 days.
The North-South route enjoys several advantages compared to other transport corridors; it is more profitable for each parameter than other alternative routes, such as the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea-Northern Europe, and the Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Northern Europe routes.
The project is of strategic importance for the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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