By Rashid Shirinov
Railways agencies of Azerbaijan and China agreed to send another five test container trains on the Trans-Caspian International Transportation Route (TITR) through Azerbaijan.
Nadir Azmammadov, the spokesperson for Azerbaijan Railways announced about this while talking to Trend on October 25.
He noted that the cooperation between the railways of Azerbaijan and China is being expanded.
The issue of boosting the cooperation was mulled in China, as Head of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov visits Chengdu city to meet with Chen Zhongwei, Director of the municipal port and logistics center of the city, and Fan Yun, Director of international rail services of Chengdu.
The sides discussed economic opportunities, export potential of China’s Sichuan province and the routes for export of local goods to Europe, as well as the opportunities of TITR.
The Chinese side expressed its interest in TITR and desire to create a regional hub in Azerbaijan, given the country’s favorable geographical location.
Chinese partners also noted that with a view to increase trade with such countries as Iran, Turkey, and countries of southern Europe, they are going to arrange dispatch of cargo trains through Azerbaijan in the framework of One Belt, One Road project, Azmammadov said.
This project involves the use of TITR, and increase of trains' number.
Hence, the parties came to an agreement on sending five test container trains on TITR until the end of the year, as well as decided to hold next bilateral meeting in Baku.
The Trans-Caspian international transport route, which is designed to provide transport connections between the East and West of Eurasia, runs through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and then to Europe via Turkey and Ukraine. The route was launched with the establishment of its Coordinating Committee in October 2013. The first test container train from China arrived at the Baku International Sea Trade Port on August 3, 2015.
The agreement to create the Trans-Caspian International Transportation Consortium was signed in April 2016 in Baku by the railway authorities of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan.
In January, 2016, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Ukraine decided to apply the competitive feed-in tariffs for cargo transportation via the TITR. Single competitive rate was introduced in the framework of the route starting from June 1, 2016 with the view to reduce the costs of international cargo transportation.
About 300,000-400,000 containers are expected to be transported via the Trans-Caspian international transport route by 2020, bringing huge financial profits to Azerbaijan. Growing interest in the transport infrastructures passing through Azerbaijan's territory is expected to make the country a major transport hub in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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