By Nigar Abbasova
The construction of the Baku International Sea Trade Port in Azerbaijan’s Alat settlement, which is expected to become one of the leading trade and logistics hubs of Eurasia, is gaining momentum.
Director General of the Port Taleh Ziyadov told reporters that the first stage of construction of the Port is projected to be completed until late 2017.
He mentioned that the completion of the first stage will allow the facility to handle nearly 1,280 tons of goods per day, while the implementation of all 3 phases of construction is projected to increase the capacity up to 7,660 tons on a daily basis.
“The improvement program is currently underway on Ro-Ro terminals and terminals on the transshipment of dry freight. The work is also underway on the construction of moorings with a length of 650 meters. The second stage envisages construction of three additional moorings, while two new freight moorings will be constructed within the third stage,” he said.
The completion of the first stage is expected to allow the facility to increase its capacity up to 11.5 million tons of cargo per year and to 50,000 containers, while the second stage will provide for the handling of 17 million tons of freight and 150,000 of containers. The implementation of the final stage is projected to increase the capacity up to 25 million tons of freight and 1 million of containers.
Being a driving force behind Azerbaijan’s port and logistics development Baku International Sea Trade Port was previously located in the middle of the city. Taking into account the bid of the country to become one of the major commercial and transportation hubs in the region and facilitate regional transformation, the state decided to move it to a new location, 70 km south of the capital Baku, near a small town called Alat, which is located at the strategic crossroads of the regional railroads and highways.
The new Port of Baku is located on an area of 400 hectares (ha) of land, of which about 100-115 ha cover the area for the development of the international Logistics and Trade Zone. The northern areas around the port are reserved for future expansion of logistics, industrial, and manufacturing activity.
As for the creation of the first-ever free trade zone (FTZ) of Azerbaijan Ziyadov said that the FTZ may start to operate in the first half of 2017. He mentioned that industrial clusters specialized in different sectors of light industry will be created at the territory of the FTZ. He said that the first phase envisages creation of storehouses and clusters, while the next stage will provide for the creation of small enterprises in such spheres as pharmaceutics, petrochemicals, and light industry.
“It will help to attract big companies to establish distribution sales network not only in Azerbaijan, but also on regional scale,” he clarified.
Ziyadov said that the work in underway on the creation of a special legal regime, mentioning that the draft version will be submitted for the consideration of the government till late 2016. General development plan of the FTZ will be developed till January-February 2017. Director General said that the creation of the FTZ in the country will also give a stimulus for the popularization and development of Made in Azerbaijan brand.
“Azerbaijan is known as an exporter of raw materials. We plan to process and pack the materials in the FTZ and further export the products under "Made in Azerbaijan" brand to other countries,” he said.
Moreover, the creation of the FTZ will give a push for the development of urban infrastructure. “We have a good example of FTZ, which operates in Jebel Ali Port in Dubai. The area was comprised of only one building nearly 30 years ago. We are sure, that Alat will turn into large trade town after 20 years. Moreover, a new airport may be created in the area the future,” he said.
The Baku FTZ will include several components, such as Truck Parking, International and Domestic Logistics Centers, operating within a special economic regime. The project is expected to bring huge benefits to the state budget of the country once established. The registration of the FTZ residents is expected to begin in January 2017. Preparation of legal documents required for the activities of the area is currently underway.
Special tax and customs policy, which will be pursued in the territory of the free trade zone will also stipulate further development and simplification of a number of procedures. The privileges can cover the income tax, VAT, tax of profit and property tax.
Economic Zones World Company, a global developer and operator of economic zones, technology, logistics and industrial parks which belongs to DP World Corporation is also involved in the creation of Azerbaijan’s first-ever FTZ, while Dubai model was used as a basis in the process of its creation.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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