By Sara Israfilbayova
Three cargo trips are carried out between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan weekly via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway.
Presently Turkey exports construction materials, detergents, food and agricultural products via the BTK to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, and imports mainly grain, iron and zinc, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of Turkey Mehmet Cahit Turhan told Trend.
The minister also noted that since the start of operation of the BTK railway, 100,000 tons of cargo has been transported in 102 container trains.
Turhan went on to say that with the BTK railway, construction of one of the important sections of the Middle Corridor in Turkey was completed, adding that BTK became a part of the work to revive the Silk Road, which is not only a transport and economic project, but also a political, cultural and social one.
Speaking of the Silk Road he noted that it is the longest transport and trade corridor in the world, further saying that with the total length of 18,000 kilometers it covers more than 60 countries.
“With the start of operation of the BTK railway, Turkey was able to create a transport corridor between Europe and Asia. At the same time, with the completion of this project, the Turkish State Railways (TCDD Tasimacilik AS), a part of our ministry, became a member of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route Association since February 15, 2018,” he concluded.
On October 30, a solemn ceremony on the occasion of the opening of the BTK railway was held at the Baku International Sea Trade Port. Two trains 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 was constructed on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey intergovernmental agreement. The main purpose of the project was to improve economic relations between the three countries and attract foreign direct investment by connecting Europe and Asia.
In fact, the BTK railway route is the shortest way to deliver cargo from the Russian regions located in the Volga, Ural and Siberian Federal Districts to the Mediterranean ports of Turkey, and further to the countries of Africa and the Middle East.
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.
Sara Israfilbayova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Sara_999Is
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