By Amina Nazarli
Azerbaijan and Ukraine has agreed to jointly design ships, as Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Ukrainian Marine Engineering Bureau will create a joint venture -- Caspian Engineering Bureau.
The relevant document was undersigned by heads of the two companies Rauf Valiyev and Genadiy Yegorov, respectively.
The new joint venture will be engaged in design work, creation of ships projects of different directions, technical documentation for the repair, modernization and operation of ships, training of specialists in this field and conducting research projects.
In October, the two companies have signed a contract worth 132 million manats ($80 million) for construction of two new unique Ro-Pax (roll-on/roll-off passenger) ferries.
The ferry to be built at Baku Shipyard LLC is designed for freight and passenger traffic. The vessel with deadweight of 5,540 tons will be able to carry up to 56 tanks, 46 gondola cars, 44 freight cars, 50 trucks and will have 100 passenger seats.
Currently, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company has 13 ferries, two of which are Ro-Ro type ferries. Seven of those ferries can carry up to 28 cars, while other six ferries can carry 52-54 cars
Azerbaijan is highly prioritizing the development of the shipping industry and improvement of the maritime infrastructure. The government has already approved the State Program on Development of Shipping in Azerbaijan for 2016-2020.
The program envisages wide range of obligations including renewal of the transport and specialized offshore fleet, expansion of activities outside the Caspian Sea, increase of the volume of freight transportation through the territory of the country, modernization of shipbuilding and maintenance yards and improvement of the academic base of marine education, as well as implementation of certain measures to turn the country into major transport-logistics hub of international importance.
The country is now negotiating with a number of European, Chinese and South Korean, as well as domestic companies, for building ships. Moreover, international firms have also made commitments to increase shipping ties with Iran.
Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company plays a connecting role in the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA), provides marine transportation of goods and passengers, as well as offshore support services for oil and gas operations.