First direct container train departs from Baku to Europe
By Leman Mammadova
Having a favorable geographical position, Azerbaijan is a major participant of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR).
The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR or Middle Corridor) is a transport corridor linking China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania and Europe.
Another container block train has recently launched from the Chinese city of Xi'an to Europe as part of the TITR.The destination of the 42-container train is Prague, the Czech Republic.
Running along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, this will be the first freight train to travel along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Europe through the Marmaray rail tunnel in Turkey.
Thus, the container block train on Xi'an-Prague route will continuously run only by railway from Baku to Europe. The ceremony of welcoming the travelling train is expected to take place in Istanbul.
The Chinese-made appliances have been sent by train to the Czech Republic. The freight operator is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Consortium. Azerbaijan is represented in the consortium by ADY Container LLC, a subsidiary of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC.
Each of the participating countries, including Azerbaijan, plays an indispensable role in promoting this route as the “Middle Corridor” in the direction of China-Europe.
The block train from the Chinese city of Xi'an arrived in Azerbaijan on July 6, 2019. The organization of container trains is implemented within the framework of cooperation between the Azerbaijan Railways CJSC’s subsidiary company ADY Container and the Chinese Xi’an Continental Bridge International Logistics Co. Ltd.
The companies signed an agreement on container trains expedition along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) in April during the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Both companies plan to launch 30 container trains (2460TEU) by late 2019, with 20 container trains already launched so far.
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. 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.
China-initiated Belt and Road project aims at creating infrastructure and establishing links among the Eurasian countries. The project envisages the creation of trade corridor for direct deliveries of goods from East to West on preferential terms.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz