Azerbaijan to offer most favorable tariffs for BTK
By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan, a young country that has gone through quite in recent memory, has managed to build a one of the most dynamically developing economies of the region. The favorable geographic position was always a key for Azerbaijan and today the country is beginning to exploit its full potential.
At present, the country is the initiator and participant of large-scale transportation projects of regional and international scale, one of which is the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway. The project is expected to commission soon and will open doors not only for its large transport capacity, but also other perspectives for Azerbaijan.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route, designed to connect the railway systems of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, is the missing link between Europe and Asia.
The Asian market has great potential and opportunity as it develops rapidly and the launch of the BTK will further simplify and speed up the movement of goods and cargo along the East-West route.
Peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million tons of cargo a year. However, at the initial stage, this figure will be at the level of 6.5 million tons of cargo.
In the three years of operation, the expected volume of cargo transportation through the railway line will be 3 million tons and 5 million tons or more in five years. After 10 years of operation, the volume of freight traffic will exceed 10 million tons.
“Azerbaijan will offer the most favorable tariffs for cargo transportation within the BTK transport corridor,” said Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov, addressing the 10th World Customs Organization PICARD Conference on September 8.
The three-day conference entitled “Partnerships in Customs Academic Research and Development” is currently underway in Baku, gathering over 240 delegates from 53 countries.
Sharifov said the BTK should become the most competitive
transport corridor for cargo transit in the region.
“This is the most important condition for the successful operation of this corridor,” he stressed.
The Deputy Prime Minister went on to add that the corresponding decision has not been made yet, as this process should involve all members of the project.
“Talking about tariffs is premature because the corridor is not in use yet,” said Sharifov. “In addition, the decision on tariffs cannot be taken unilaterally, and this process should involve all parties, in particular member countries of the project. However, it is clear that the BTK should offer more favorable cargo transportation tariffs than the other transport corridors.”
To develop transport sector, the custom system of each country should work more rapidly and efficiently.
The Azerbaijan State Customs Committee is working to simplify procedures for the freight trains at checkpoints, the head of the State Customs Committee, Aydin Aliyev, said to journalists at the PICARD conference.
“Eight pieces of equipment for scanning large-sized trucks has already installed at the checkpoints of Azerbaijan,” Aliyev said. “Today continues installing of similar devices to check the freight cars at the checkpoint Boyuk Kesik and Yalama. The works are nearing completion and soon these devices will be in operation. Thus, we will accelerate the check in the main checkpoints, through which cargo is handling.”
He added the State Customs Committee is doing everything possible to accelerate the verification procedure at the checkpoint, while not forgetting about other customs duties.
“Customs should not only facilitate and accelerate the commercial operations, but also ensure the economic security of the state. Given the current situation in the world economy and the acceleration of smuggling, this second function of the customs authorities becomes even more important,” he said.
At present, Azerbaijan is doing everything necessary to ensure that the BTK railroad has proven its effectiveness, viability, and contributed to the development of freight traffic on the route between Europe and Asia.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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