By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan is becoming the biggest transit, logistics and important transport hub in the region due to its active involvement in a number of large regional transport projects and the development of the country’s transport sector.
Azerbaijani Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade made these remarks during the opening ceremony of the meeting of the International Transport Forum (ITF) held in Baku on October 14.
In his words, the international transport corridors passing through Azerbaijan’s territory have been completely reconstructed and brought up to European standards.
"All sectors of the Azerbaijani economy are dynamically developing. The transport sector is expanding, including the automotive industry," the minister said.
The Minister also touched upon the work carried out in the field of regulation of international trucking and informed about the action plans taken with regards to the International Transport Forum Charter of Quality.
About 100 ITF member states delegates are taking part in the two-day forum held in Baku. The event is dedicated to the implementation of the Charter requirements by the member countries, and the application and development prospects of the European freight market.
Note that the International Transport Forum has 57 members. Azerbaijan became a full member of the forum since May 1998.
The main objectives of the International Transport Forum are: determination of measures for the efficient use and effective development of international transport by the member states of the forum, coordination and strengthening of the activities of all international carriers, taking into account the activities of national authorities in the field of international transport.
In 2017, Azerbaijan put into operation Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway that provides shortest rail link between Europe and Asia; it plays an important role in the implementation of China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy and the International North-South Transport Corridor project. The BTK railway route is the shortest way to deliver cargo from the Russian regions located in the Volga, Ural and Siberian Federal Districts to the Mediterranean ports of Turkey, and further to the countries of Africa and the Middle East.
Another important route is Lapis Lazuli transport corridor. Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an agreement on the creation of the Lapis Lazuli transport corridor which is set to connect the five countries in 2017.
Azerbaijan is also interested in the development of both the "North-South" and "West-East" Transport Corridors. The country is a central territory in both cases. TRACECA is an international cooperation program in the field of transport between the EU and partner countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia.
Azerbaijan pins great hopes on the Baku International Sea Trade Port, arguably the most modern in the Caspian basin, as well as the creation of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) that will ensure a wider transit and transport potential of the country.
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