By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The French company Alstom and Azerbaijan Railways have agreed on the provision of technical support for the locomotive fleet.
The document was signed within the framework of the meeting of Azerbaijani Finance Minister Samir Sharifov and Bruno Le Maire, France's Minister of the Economy and Finance.
Javid Gurbanov, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Railways, and Elshan Zeynalov, Alstom Regional Director for Azerbaijan, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, signed the agreement.
Alstom is a world leader in integrated transport systems. As a promoter of sustainable mobility, the company develops and markets systems, equipment and services for the transport sector. Alstom offers a complete range of solutions, passenger solutions, customized services, infrastructure, signaling and digital mobility solutions.
The French company will provide the technical maintenance for locomotives supplied to Azerbaijan.
Alstom presented its first electric freight locomotive Prima T8 AZ8A for Azerbaijan Railways in 2018. The presentation of the locomotive was held at the Electric Locomotives Assemblage Factory.
AZ8A is a heavy-duty freight locomotive from the Prima T8 series, which is based on the KZ8A locomotive, currently operated in Kazakhstan. AZ8A is designed for operation at temperatures from -25 to 50 degrees Celsius.
Deliveries of Alstom AC locomotives began after the signing of the agreement in 2014. As many as 40 of them are intended for freight traffic on the route Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, while the remaining 10 - for passenger trains.
Azerbaijan Railways received the first electric locomotive Prima T8 AZ8A in December 2018, which was assembled at a plant in Kazakhstan. The model, consisting of two sections, is able to pull up to 9,000 tons and reach speeds of up to 120 km/h.
At the meeting with Le Maire, Sharifov said that the Azerbaijan-France Intergovernmental Economic Commission supports the further development of bilateral cooperation in the economic, financial, humanitarian and other fields.
Sharifov said that the parties are considering a joint project in the field of transport, the financing of which can be carried out by the Azerbaijani government and French banks. The minister also added that in 2020, French companies will start their activities in the Free Economic Zone of Alat.
He noted that Azerbaijan is interested in the further development of multilateral relations between the two countries. In addition to trade relations, the minister noted that a favorable environment was created for French companies in Azerbaijan for investment in production.
Sharifov pointed out that the French companies, using ties with Azerbaijan, can expand sales of goods and services to countries in the region, which will strengthen the competitiveness of French companies.
In turn, Le Maire mentioned that both parties have a high potential for developing relations in various sectors of the economy and are ready to enter the next level of cooperation.
He noted that France is interested, in particular, in the development of joint projects in the field of energy, oil and gas sector, renewable energy sources, as well as the defense industry.
In addition, Le Maire said that joint work could be carried out on the rehabilitation of old oil and gas fields, taking into account the minimization of emissions to the environment.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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