By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Growth of passenger and freight traffic between Azerbaijan and Russia once again demonstrates the importance of Azerbaijan in the region as a transport hub connecting Russia to the South Caucasus and beyond.
Sergey Chebotarev, Russia’s Minister of North Caucasus Affairs, told local media that Azerbaijan is a strategic point in the transport infrastructure of the Caspian region.
He stressed that Azerbaijan plays a very important role in the development of the region and this tendency traditionally comes from the Soviet time.
Chebotarev also noted Azerbaijan has the large Baku Port, which potentially processes up to 25 million tons of cargo per year. In addition, the Alat Port has been built and is already functioning, he added.
“This is a well-formed approach from the leadership of Azerbaijan. First, the transshipment capacities are going up, and secondly, Baku is unloading. We would like to continue to work with our Azerbaijani partners to develop a transport corridor along the West-East line, but not in the southern, but in the northern part of the Caucasus,” the minister said.
Azerbaijan and Russia are eager to improve transport links, especially in the railway sector. Using the transport and transit potential of national railway companies through joint measures implementation will contribute to the growth of cargo traffic via the Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia-Europe routes within the North-South Transport Corridor and the Russia-Azerbaijan-Turkey route by using the infrastructure of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
Touching upon the ongoing joint infrastructure projects, it is also noteworthy that construction of Azerbaijan-Russia bridge is nearing completion.
In general, the North-South Transport Corridor envisages connecting India with the Middle East and the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe. The purpose of the corridor is to reduce the delivery time to three weeks from India to Russia, as well as to North and West Europe while the current route takes more than six weeks.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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