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Azerbaijan eyes transport sector as priority in 2016

11 January 2016 16:25 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan eyes transport sector as priority in 2016

By Aynur Karimova

Development of the transport sector will be on the focus of the Azerbaijani government as a priority in 2016.

President Ilham Aliyev made the remark at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the results of socio-economic development in 2015 and objectives for the future on January 10.

"Currently, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are pursuing a common tariff policy in this corridor. After the aggravation of Turkish-Russian relations, Azerbaijan has mobilized its capabilities to facilitate the transit of Turkish heavy vehicles to the Central Asia," he noted.

Russia has recently banned the entry of trucks from Turkey into its territory due to the plane incident. For this reason, it was decided to send the cargo flow destined for the Central Asian countries via Azerbaijan. Consequently, this has led to an increase in the flow of trucks from Turkey to Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan, which enjoys an advantageous geographical position at a crossroads between East and West, has already expressed readiness to increase the volume of cargo transported from Turkey to Central Asia via its territory.

Vugar Sadikhov, the aide of the Chairman of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company, told Day.Az news agency that is ready to carry any volume of goods from Turkey to Central Asia.

"We are ready to transport any volume, the more that Azerbaijan is taking all steps to facilitate all transit procedures. We are doing everything necessary to ensure the transit potential of our country to increase," he said.

Sadikhov also noted that the number of vessels of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company, which are now operating on the Baku-Aktau-Baku and Baku-Turkmenbashi-Baku routes, allows carrying all cargoes between the western and eastern coasts of the Caspian Sea.

"Currently, six ferries and one ro-ro vessel are operating in the Aktau direction. In addition, five ferries and one ro-ro vessel float between Baku and Turkmenbashi. Just in a few days another ferry - "Mercury" will be put into operation after refurbishment and the total number of vessels operating on these two routes will reach 14," he added.

In the first half of December, there were some problems in loading trucks on the ferries. During this period trucks waited for their cargo-loading for 10-12 days.

"The problems were solved through definite actions. All the above mentioned ferries are operating and the time for cargo-loading was reduced to one or two days," the official said.

The transport sector is regarded as a central direction to diversify Azerbaijan's national economy. The government regards its capabilities as a good tool to minimize the impact of the ongoing economic crisis to the nation.

Azerbaijan has invested billions of dollars in the development of sea, railway, road and social infrastructure. Developed infrastructure and good business climate has paved the way to attract foreign direct investment in this sector, as well.

With suitable location between East and West, Azerbaijan attracts foreign cargo companies.

Azerbaijan also applies the principle of "single window" for transport of transit cargoes through its territory via the railways, maritime transport, ports and terminals.

Azerbaijan has reduced transit costs by around 40 percent for foreign carriers heading to the Kazakh port of Aktau and Turkmenbashi port of Turkmenistan. The government applies a 30-percent discount on the services of transit of oil and oil products by railway and transshipment via the sea terminals.

Large transport and logistics operators of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Georgia have already agreed to establish a consortium engaged in the shipping of cargoes from China to Europe, which will become possible through the Trans-Caspian international transport route "China-Turkey-Europe". The first container train from China arrived in Baku in August 2015.

It is believed that expansion of transport routes will further increase Azerbaijan's attractiveness for investors in terms of ease of delivery processes.


Aynur Karimova is AzerNews staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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