By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan has become a key initiator in the implementation of large-scale transport projects in the region. The country has become the transport and logistics hub of the region due to the effective steps taken in recent years.
Major infrastructure projects implemented by Azerbaijan such as Baku International Sea Trade Port, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway play an important role in strengthening the transport and transit capacities of the country and create conditions for active participation in transit transportation.
Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy, acquainted Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, with Baku International Sea Trade Port located in the Alat settlement on July 9.
“The country’s location in the North-South and East-West international transport corridors creates a large transit potential for the new port, and allows performing the functions of a strategic transport hub in transshipment of incoming and outgoing transit cargo to the country, ensuring an efficient, fast and safe ferry service across the Caspian Sea,” he said.
The complex serves as a point of direct pick-up of cargo for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line. The goods entering the country through the corridors from the northern, southern, eastern and western directions are picked up in the new port complex and transported via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Europe or by ships to the east.
At the same time, the Baku port holds an important position in the trade turnover between Europe and Asia. As a transport corridor linking Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan plays an important role as a transport and logistics hub due to its strategic position.
Mustafayev stressed that a free economic zone is being created on the adjacent territory, including the territory of the new port. This will provide the port with more opportunities for transit and transportation.
Taleh Ziyadov, Director-General of Baku International Sea Trade Port, said that the advanced IT system currently used at the port, by automating all operations, provides the cargo owner with the ability to monitor the cargo online, determine the location in the territory and gives other advantages.
He noted that for fast and efficient loading and unloading, the time limit for loading onto ships and unloading of containers and dry cargo delivered by heavy trucks is set through the port’s operational information system. Thus, the processes are carried out in accordance with this schedule.
This operating system, which works online, immediately informs the cargo owner about its delivery to and from the port of Baku.
The latest technological and engineering solutions used at the port make the complex the most modern and convenient cargo handling center in the region that meets international requirements, and also enhance its transit and transportation capabilities as an important transportation hub.
During the visit to Baku Port, Donald Tusk got acquainted with the infrastructure created there. Mustafayev said that the area of the port covers 400 hectares, there are 12 berths, the total length of which is 2,100 meters. The port has 2 berths for Ro-Ro type vessels, a universal dry cargo and container terminal consisting of 7 berths, 2 ferry berths, and a berth for service fleet vessels. The length of the berth for service fleet vessels is 155 meters, 11 ships can moor there at the same time.
The annual transshipment capacity of the port is 15 million tons, including 100,000 containers. In general, after completion of all construction works, the port will be able to transship 25 million tons of cargo, including 500,000 containers, thanks to the 17 berths available.
Baku International Sea Trade Port was previously located within the city. Taking into account the bid of the country to become one of the major commercial and transportation hubs in the region and facilitate regional transformation, the state decided to move it to a new location, 70 km south of the capital Baku, near a settlement called Alat, which is located at the strategic crossroads of the regional railroads and highways.
The port in Alat is a transportation hub linking the west (Turkey & EU), south (Iran & India) and north (Russia). In addition, the port's location is linked to existing highways and railways, connecting the port to the inland regions of the country.
In 2018, the total volume of cargo transportation at all terminals of the Baku Port was about 3.8 million tons, of which 84.5 percent (3.2 million tons) accounted for transit cargo.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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