By Rasana Gasimova
Representatives of Azerbaijani Railways CJSC, the state-owned rail transport operator, have held a number of meetings with representatives of the Japanese business circles in Tokyo.
The meetings were held as part of the 10th session of the State Commission on economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Japan held in Tokyo on November 21-22.
Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Igbal Huseynov, as well as heads of ADY Express and ADY Conteiner LLC, held talks with more than 10 Japanese companies specializing in transport and logistics, as well as large cargo owners. Along with such large corporations as JR-Freight Railway, HİS Corporation, Yusen Logistics, Nippon Freight Railway Co, Nissin Corporation, Toyo Trans Corporation, ITOCHİ Cooperation, JETRO and others, representatives of Azerbaijani Railways held meetings in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan, ADY Express reported on its website.
The parties mainly discussed cooperation between Azerbaijan and Japan in the field of transport, logistics and rail freight.
According to the report, after the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was commissioned and Azerbaijan Railways CJSC became a full member of the Coordination Council for Trans-Siberian transportation International Association, cargo transportation from the Far East and Japan to Turkey, southern Europe and the Balkans, as well as the Mediterranean countries became more attractive.
Azerbaijani railway workers proposed a new route for cargo transportation in the Japan-Russia-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey-Europe direction. Thus, it was proposed to carry cargo from Japan to Vladivostok (Russia) by sea, then by rail along the TRANS-Siberian railway, then to Azerbaijan, Georgia and then by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Turkey and Europe.
In 2018 alone, Japanese goods accounted for 30 percent of the transported transit cargo volume on the Trans-Siberian railway, and the freight trains speed on the highway is 1100 km per day. This figure will increase in the near future.
Thus, the main advantage of the North-West transit corridor, created on Azerbaijan’s initiative is a short transit route. Currently, the delivery of goods on the route Vladivostok-Baku-destination in Europe is from 21 days, while for transportation by sea through the Suez canal is about 45 days.
“Taking into account that the annual turnover between Japan and Europe is more than 15 million tons, it is possible to attract part of this flow to the route passing through the territory of Azerbaijan,” the report said.
During the meetings, cargo transportation, tariffs, transit time and other important issues were discussed and decisions were made on the continuation of relations in the near future. The sides also exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest.
Presently, several routes from the East to Europe pass through the territory of Azerbaijan. Among such projects are the International North-South Transport Corridor, which is designed to transport goods from India and the Persian Gulf countries to Russia, Western Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavian countries.
In addition, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway built at the initiative of Azerbaijan, which is part of the East-West Corridor, allows supplying cargo to Europe. Another example is the Lapis Lazuli route, which runs from Afghanistan to Turkey and further to Europe.
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