By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company has launched "Shahdag" ferry for traffic on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the company reported on October 24.
The ferry was returned to service after overhaul. During the renovation, which started in late September, Main and auxiliary engines, various systems, steering wheel and other mechanisms, as well as premises and accommodation were modernized during the overhau. "Shahdag" will be operated on the lines of Baku-Aktau-Baku and Baku-Turkmenbashi-Baku within TITR.
Depending on the volume of cargo, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company’s ships are kept in the reserve and then returned to operation, which allows to cut costs.
Given the significant increase in transportation volumes, in December 2015 the company decided to use several reserve ferries.
The Trans-Caspian international transport route, which is designed to provide transport connections between the East and West of Eurasia, runs through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and then to Europe via Turkey and Ukraine. The route was launched with the establishment of its Coordinating Committee in October 2013. The first test container train from China arrived at the Baku International Sea Trade Port on August 3, 2015.
The agreement to create the Trans-Caspian International Transportation Consortium was signed in April 2016 in Baku by the railway authorities of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan.
Azerbaijani companies ADY Express and ACSC Logistics, Kazakhstan's KTZ Express and Georgia's Trans Caucasus Terminals LLC are the members of the consortium. The Supervisory Board includes one representative from each member company, while Igbal Huseynov, the deputy head of Azerbaijan Railways JSC is the chairman of the board. Later, Ukrainian "Ukrzaliznytsya," "Ukrferry," companies, as well as Moldovan Translogistic became members of the Coordination Committee.
In January, 2016, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Ukraine decided to apply the competitive feed-in tariffs for cargo transportation via the TITR. Single competitive rate was introduced in the framework of the route starting from June 1, 2016 with the view to reduce the costs of international cargo transportation.
About 300,000-400,000 containers are expected to be transported via the Trans-Caspian international transport route by 2020, bringing huge financial profits to Azerbaijan. Growing interest in the transport infrastructures passing through Azerbaijan's territory is expected to make the country a major transport hub in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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