By Ayya Lmahamad
The volume of cargo transportation through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has amounted to 1.7 million tons since its commissioning, Turkish media reported citing Turkey’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoglu.
Out of the total cargo transported, 393,000 tons account for export and 614,000 tons for import shipments.
Karaismailoglu noted that transit transportation holds an important place in Baku-Tbilisi-Kars import shipments.
He added that work is underway to eliminate all obstacles in terms of infrastructure, technical and customs procedures to ensure the smooth and economical transportation of exports, imports and transit cargo along this route.
Moreover, the minister emphasized that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and Middle Corridor remain the most advantageous routes for maintaining trade between Asia and Europe.
Furthermore, he stated that the volume of cargo transportation via the BTK increased by 19 percent in the first five months of 2021, compared to the same period of last year.
Thus, during the reporting period, 280,878 tons of cargo were transported along the route. Growth was also recorded in the export of cargo via BTC, which was directed to Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, China, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. During the reporting period, export freight traffic on the BTC amounted to 64,378 tons.
Karaismailoglu stated that Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, China and Azerbaijan lead in export shipments.
Additionally, he stated that in the COVID-19 pandemic, rail has become one of the highest priority modes of transportation to ensure the continuity of trade.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad started operating in two-way mode recently. Initially, this transport corridor was used to transport goods from China to Europe. On December 4, 2020, the first freight train left Istanbul for China via the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railroad.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is of exceptional importance for turning Azerbaijan into a regional transport corridor. The agreement on the construction of the railway, which was put into operation in 2017, was signed during the meeting in Tbilisi by the leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in 2007.
The 828- kilometer Baku Tbilisi Kars railway stretch from the Azeri coast of the Caspian Sea to the Georgian capital, and from there to Turkey, connecting the country’s extensive railway system and thus gaining access to European borders.
As of today, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars cargo turnover is 6 million tons, passenger turnover is 1 million people. In the future, it may be increased to 3 million passengers and 20 million tons of cargo.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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