IAPH intends to create global database to study best practices in field of ports [UPDATE]
By Sara Israfilbayova
Port heads, government representatives, professors and experts from around the world, including Europe, Japan, Iran, Georgia, Indonesia, and Nigeria are exchanging views at the World Ports Conference, organized by the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH in Baku.
The participants of the event taken place between May 8 and 11are discussing cargo transportation along the Silk Road, the development of transport hubs and the role of ports in this issue, as well as issues of multiculturalism, cultural differences in global logistics, the work of free trade zones, increasing competition among them and other topics.
Managing Director for policy and strategy of the Association Patrick Verhoeven said at the meeting of the joint committee that the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) intends to create a global database of successful practices in the field of ports.
The Managing Director noted that in March 2018, the Association presented a World Ports Sustainability Program. The program, based on five principles: creating a sustainable infrastructure, environmental issues, security, establishing close contacts with the public, management and ethics issues, aims to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Verhoeven noted that the program will also contribute to the creation of a platform for joint projects between ports.
“For us, it is a platform for future development. The Association will act as a kind of coordinator for the projects implemented under the program,” he said.
Further, participants of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor (TITR) International Association, an association of legal entities, signed the final protocol of the general meeting of members of TITR International Association.
Tariffs for transportation of coal and grain were approved under the protocol. In addition, two new members were admitted to the TITR Association: the Anaklia Development Consortium (Georgia) and the KazMorTransFlot National Maritime Shipping Company JSC (Kazakhstan).
Chairman of the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov told reporters that it is necessary to apply the principles of common tariff and single window to ensure the transportation of various types of cargo via the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor (TITR).
“Our main tasks are the improvement of tariffs, defining a schedule of transportation, increasing the speed, etc. Azerbaijan on its part has ensured the reduction of tariffs for transportation of coal, grain and containers in its territory. Turkey and Ukraine also promised to lower prices,” Gurbanov said.
He went on to say that the passenger transportation via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will begin in 2019.
He noted that the passenger transportation will be launched after receiving passenger trains ordered from Stadler.
“I recently met with representatives of Stadler, and, they said, the trains will be delivered in early 2019,” the chairman said.
Gurbanov added that the tariffs for passenger transportation will be coordinated with Georgia and Turkey, and the final decision will be made at the governmental level.
On October 30, a solemn ceremony was held at the Baku International Sea Trade Port on the occasion of the opening of the BTK railway. Two routes from Kazakhstan to Turkish Mersin have already been sent via this route. The first train, consisting of 30 containers, on November 4, delivered 600 tons of wheat to the Turkish city of Mersin. The second freight train left Kazakhstan on November 27. The train has already reached Georgia.
The BTK railway is constructed on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey intergovernmental agreement. The main purpose of the project is to improve economic relations between the three countries and attract foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia.
The project implementation began in 2007 and construction began in 2008. The line is intended to transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the first stage. This capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo.
The International Association of Ports and Harbors represents about 180 ports and about 140 port-related enterprises in 90 countries. Members of the organization carry out more than 60 percent of the world’s marine trade and control 80 percent of global container traffic. Each year IAPH holds conferences in major port cities. So far, the conferences have been held in Los Angeles (2013), Sydney (2014), Hamburg (2015), Panama (2016) and Bali (2017).
The main theme for the IAPH Baku 2018 World Ports Conference is “Ports of Future: Building Hubs, Accelerating Connectivity.” Four-day conference will focus on the important and interesting topics like emerging transport corridors in the region and around the world, contribution of the free trade zones to the domestic economy and the economy of the neighboring countries, the concept of “SmartPorts”, “Green Ports” as well as marine tourism. The conference agenda also includes technical visit to the new Port of Baku in Alat. The participant will get a chance to see Alat Free Trade Zone which is a main part of Azerbaijan’s grand hub vision.
Sara Israfilbayova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Sara_999Is
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