By Rashid Shirinov
The heads of the railway agencies of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Georgia signed in Baku a Memorandum of Understanding on the prospects for development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).
Azerbaijan Railways reported that the quadripartite meeting brought together head of Azerbaijan Railways JSC Javid Gurbanov, President of Kazakhstan Railways Kanat Alpysbayev, CEO of Turkish Railways Veisi Kurt and Chairman of Georgian Railways Mamuka Bakhtadze.
The sides discussed prospects of development of TITR, the development of cargo transportation on this route and optimization of the tariffs. Following the meeting, the sides signed a Memorandum of understanding for the development of TITR.
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.
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.
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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