By Aynur Karimova
The idea of establishment of the International Trans-Caspian Transportation Consortium by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Georgia is expected to smooth the way for cargo on the Trans-Caspian route.
Akif Mustafayev, the TRACECA National Secretary in Azerbaijan, told Trend on April 15 that the establishment of such a consortium clearly determines the cooperation among the member-states of the transport corridor project.
"I would like this consortium to give concrete results and not to resemble other consortia as part of other projects," he said.
The railway agencies of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to establish the International Trans-Caspian Transport Consortium on April 13 during the meeting of companies involved in cargo transportation via the Trans-Caspian international transport route.
Azerbaijani companies ADY Express and ACSC Logistics, Kazakh KTZ Express JSC and Georgian Trans Caucasus Terminals LLC are the members of the consortium.
The consortium was established to address the issues concerning tariffs, existing bureaucratic delays, to eliminate deficiencies in infrastructure, and to increase the container train speed.
Speaking about the operation of other consortia engaged in the transport sector, Mustafayev said that a consortium on the North-South project was established among Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia 10 years ago to accelerate the railway construction, but was ineffective until now.
"Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressed political will. The process moved forward thanks to the president's decisions," he noted, adding that another consortium on the East-West corridor was set up in Istanbul with the participation of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan in the third quarter of 2015. However, its activity leaves much to be desired.
The Trans-Caspian route connects China with Europe via the territory of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia. This is a multimodal corridor which uses railway, maritime and road transport for transportation of goods.
The Trans-Caspian route enjoys an opportunity to become attractive and profitable for consignors from European countries. This route will transport approximately 300,000-400,000 containers by 2020.
This route is attracting the attention of the transport and logistics communities of China, Turkey, Ukraine and European countries, which are looking for new routes of supply of their products to foreign markets.
Earlier, Azerbaijan Railways reported that Germany and Lithuania have expressed interest in joining the Trans-Caspian route.
Being the cheapest and most profitable corridor for freight traffic, the Trans-Caspian route is expected not to have an alternative in the coming decade.
The growing interest in transport infrastructures via Azerbaijan helps the country to become a major transport hub in the region.
Once fully operated, the transport route will have a positive impact on Azerbaijan’s economic growth.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter @Aynur_Karimova
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