By Leman Mammadova
Baku hosted a general meeting of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor (TITR) International Association, an association of legal entities, Trend reports with reference to the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC on January 17.
The meeting participants discussed approval of Sauat Mynbayev as chairman of the association, the transfer of Batumi Sea Port LLC from the permanent members of the association to associate members, a report on the results of the association’s operation for 2018, approval of traffic volumes via the TITR route for 2019, approval of the budget of the association for 2019, approval of the plan of marketing activities of the association for 2019 and etc.
During the discussions held under the chairmanship of Javid Gurbanov, head of the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, the importance of efficient use of the TITR potential and the need to attract traffic to this route was stressed. It was noted that there is great potential for increasing the efficiency of transportation along this route and increasing the efficiency of mutual coordination. The participating countries are taking consistent steps to further develop this corridor.
One of the most important achievements in improving the competitiveness of TITR is the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway. It creates conditions for the growth of freight traffic between Europe and Asia, contributing to the development of cooperation and trade not only between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, but throughout the whole region of Eurasia.
As part of a two-day event with the participation of Javid Gurbanov, chairman of the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC, Sandzhar Yelyubayev, deputy chairman of the Kazakhstan Railways JSC, David Peradze, director general of Georgian Railway and Remigiusz Pashkevich, member of the board of Ukrainian Railways, Veysi Kurt, director general om freight for the State Railways of Turkey, Abay Turikpenbaev, chairman of Aktau International Sea Trade Port JSC, Rauf Veliyev, chairman of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping CJSC and Taleh Ziyadov, director general of the Baku International Sea Trade Port, the corresponding protocol was signed.
Providing the shortest rail link between Europe and Asia, BTK plays an important role in the implementation of China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy and the International North-South Transport Corridor.
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.
At present, the BTK provides transportation from Kazakhstan to Mersin port. Some cargoes are delivered from Russia to Turkey and Europe.
The total length of the BTK railway is 846 km, with 504 km running thtough the territory of Azerbaijan, 263 km - Georgia and 79 km - Turkey.
The BTK railway has been constructed on the basis a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement. 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 opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was held on October 30, 2017 at the Baku International Sea Trade Port.
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.
The Istanbul Declaration was signed 29 October 2018 within the 7th trilateral meeting of Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish foreign ministers. Declaration stated that commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway would make a great contribution to the economic development of the three countries and facilitate competitive transportation between Asia and Europe and in Caspian Sea. The parties agreed to all the necessary support for increasing the volume of passenger and cargo transportation from the Trans-Caspian East-West Corridor through the BTK railway.
The Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor was established in February 2014 with the participation of relevant agencies involved in cargo transportation of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia. Then, Ukraine, Romania and Poland have joined the association.
At present, this route extends from the Chinese-Kazakh border to the European countries, passing through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The corridor has defined a single transit route along the entire route, with the principle of "single window" and container trains are successfully transported through the route within this project.
The Nomad Express train, which runs along the Trans-Caspian International Route, transports cargo from China to Europe on average for 10-12 days, that is one of the main advantages of the route.
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