By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Domestic passenger traffic through Azerbaijani Railways increased by 35.8 percent year-on-year in 2019 to reach 3,849 million people, Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways’ CJSC Javid Gurbanov has said.
Gurbanov also said that cargo transportation increased by 9.1 percent in 2019, adding that this growth was achieved due to an increase in the transportation of non-oil cargo.
He further informed that the volume of transit cargo increased by 24.7 percent in 2019. Speaking about Azerbaijan's participation in international transport projects, Gurbanov drew attention to the importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway.
"In particular, cargo transportation through the BTK railway route increased by 42 percent, through the Astara railway terminal (border with Iran) within the North-South route - by 38 percent," Gurbanov stated.
Gurbanov pointed out that in 2019, there was an increase of 39.2 percent in the non-oil cargo transit compared to 2018.
He mentioned four projects launched in 2019, in particular, a passenger train running on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route, an opening of Sabunchu Railway Station Complex, Sabunchu-Pirshaghi line of Baku circular railway, as well as a tunnel in Pirshaghi.
Chairman recalled that according to the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum for 2019, Azerbaijan ranked 11th among 141 countries worldwide and first among the CIS countries for the Efficiency Index of Rail Service.
Speaking about the forthcoming work, Gurbanov stressed that the Gabala and Shahdag projects are a priority in 2020.
As for the wages of employees working in the company (18,170 people work on the railway, 1046 people were employed in 2019), it increased from 270 manats ($159) to 549 manats ($323) in the period of 2015-2019.
The commissioning of the BTK railway took place on October 30, 2017. Currently, this route carries cargo. At the initial stage, BTK is expected to transport up to 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo. In the future, transportation along this corridor is planned to be increased to 20-22 million tons of cargo per year.
The North-South transport corridor is designed to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia, including combining the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. At the first stage, it is planned to transport five million tons of cargo per year along the corridor, in the future - more than 10 million tons.
Today, the total length of railways in the country is 4200 km, and the main roads are 2955 km.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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