Netherlands interested in connecting to BTK
By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan and the Netherlands cooperate in different directions such as industry, producing, processing and packing of agricultural production, ICT, tourism, health, ecology, etc.
The Netherlands is clearly interested in connecting to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Trend.
The ministry stated that opening of the BTK is important event with significant economic prospects and taking into account that Azerbaijan has historically been a bridge between East and West, this railway can become an important link between Europe and Asia, where Azerbaijan is a logistics center.
BTK plays an important role in the implementation of China's Belt and Road strategy and the International North-South Transport Corridor. The total length of the BTK railway is 846 km, with 504 km running through the territory of Azerbaijan, 263 km - Georgia and 79 km - Turkey.
The opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was held on October 30, 2017 at the Baku International Sea Trade Port. At the initial stage, the volume of freight will be at the level of 6.5 million tons of cargo, and up to 1 million passengers will be transported. This capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo.
The Dutch Foreign Ministry noted that although the official joining of the Netherlands to the project is unlikely, the country has a clear interest in connecting to this railway and transporting goods to Asia and vice versa. The ministry noted that Dutch logistics company Cabooter Group has already concluded contract with Azerbaijan’s Alat port for cargo transportation.
Then, touching on further development of bilateral cooperation within the port industry, the Dutch MFA recalled that the Port of Rotterdam representatives actively participated in the 2018 World Ports Conference in Baku. Given the potential of Alat port, as well as the extensive experience and knowledge of the Port of Rotterdam, there are certainly great prospects for future cooperation in this area.
As for overall economic cooperation between the two countries, there are more than 125 companies with the Dutch capital operating in Azerbaijan. Their activity area covers such fields as financing, industry, construction, service, trade, agriculture, transport, ecology, etc.
The trade turnover between the two countries reached $181.8 million in 2018. This was $7.2 million more than in 2017.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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