By Aynur Karimova
Taleh Ziyadov, Director General of the Baku International Sea Trade Port has revealed plans regarding Azerbaijan's transportation sector at a joint event with American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham) on March 17.
Ziyadov, talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, said that the territory of the Baku International Sea Trade Port located in the Alat settlement, 40 miles south of Baku, can be expanded in the future.
Also, the construction of the Ro-Ro terminal in the territory of the port will be completed by the end of 2016.
"Currently, the second stage of the first phase [of construction of the terminal] is underway. The inauguration of the Ro-Ro terminal is of significant importance, as currently half the cargo arrives in the port in Alat, and the other half - in the Baku port in the boundaries of the city. But by late 2016, we will pass all of this traffic through the new port. In general, the first phase will be completed before the end of 2017," he said.
The construction of the Baku International Sea Trade Port started in November 2010.
The funds directed to the implementation of all three phases of the port construction are expected to hit 870 million manats ($544.74 million). The first and the main phase of construction is estimated at 540 million manats ($338.1 million), while the second and the first phases - 150 million manats ($939,200) and 180 million manats ($112.7 million), respectively.
The estimated transshipment volume for the new port complex is up to 10 million tons of cargo and 40,000 TEU containers at the first stage, up to 17 million tons of cargo and 150,000 TEU containers at the second stage, and up to 25 million tons of cargo, and 1 million TEU containers at the third stage of the project.
Ziyadov went on to add that the Baku International Sea Trade Port expects the volume of cargo transshipment to amount to 6 million tons in 2016.
"As you know, due to economic crisis, trade turnover dropped significantly last year. But if the volume of cargo transshipment amounted to 3 million tons in 2015, this year we expect it to increase to 6 million tons," he stated.
Last year, passenger transportation by sea between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan rose by 10 percent compared to 2014, Ziyadov noted, adding that this increase was achieved thanks to Turkmenistan’s using the Ro-Ro ships for passenger transportation.
“The Ro-Ro ships, purchased by Turkmenistan, are at the same time used for passenger transportation,” he said. “They can carry nearly 200 passengers. I think these two systems [passenger and freight transportation] will complement each other.”
Ziyadov voiced hope that the passenger transportation between the two countries will continue to grow.
No need for new airport in Baku
Touching upon the possibility of construction of an airport near the Baku International Sea Trade Port, Ziyadov said that currently, this issue is not relevant.
“We already have an airport [Heydar Aliyev International Airport] with a remarkable logistics center,” he said at the event. “Our aim is to ensure good integration of our port with this logistics center.”
Ziyadov also noted that if subsequently the volume of freight traffic increases and the need for another airport arises, this issue could be considered.
The Heydar Aliyev International Airport is one of five international airports of Azerbaijan.
Zeynalov also informed that a free trade zone can be established in the 100-115 hectare territory of the Baku sea trade port.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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