By Leman Mammadova
Over 400,000 tons of cargo has been transported through the North-South International Transport Corridor since the beginning of 2019, Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov has said.
Gurbanov added that over the nine months of 2019, some 700,000 tons of Russian cargo were transported by the Azerbaijani railways.
North-South transport route envisages connecting India with the Middle East and the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe. The project aims to increase the efficiency of transport communications in the organization of freight and passenger transportation, to assist in increasing the volume of international transportations.
Gurbanov noted that the Railways of Azerbaijan has purchased road construction equipment worth $ 30-35 million, so far.
In his words, to date, 1,000 kilometers of railways have been repaired, 3,100 new railroad cars have also been purchased.
By late 2019, Azerbaijan Railways CJSC will purchase two new railroad cars of the Swiss company Stadler, stressed Gurbanov.
“These cars differ from Russian-made trains in the use of high-quality sound insulation and sound-absorbing wheels. In total, their number reaches 40. They are distinguished by high speed characteristics, as well as quality indicators,” he said.
Pointing to increase in cargo transportation from Turkmenistan, he noted growth in freight traffic along Lapis Lazuli transport corridor.
Gurbanov also pointed out that Azerbaijan helps neighboring countries to organize passenger transportation along the BTK railway corridor.
He stressed that Azerbaijan is fully prepared for the transportation of passengers via BTK. “But the Georgian and Turkish sides do not have the locomotives necessary for the transportation of passengers. And the existing locomotives have problems with the brake system. Azerbaijan tries to provide all possible assistance to the partner countries to solve these problems.”
Providing the shortest rail link between Europe and Asia, BTK plays an important role in the implementation of China's Belt and Road strategy and the 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.
Azerbaijan is continuously working on the modernization of the transport infrastructure in the country, and the railway system catches particular attention in this regard.
Azerbaijan Railways has been cooperating with Swiss Stadler Rail Group since 2015. The Stadler Rail Group focuses on regional and suburban traffic, light S-rail traffic, the tram and rack railway sectors.
As for future goals of Azerbaijan Railways, he named extension of the Baku-Ganja train to Agstafa, construction of a new railway to Shahdag and Gabala, reconstruction of the Balakan railway, electrification work on the railway and commissioning of two new depots.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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