By Leman Mammadova
The business center of Russia’s Astrakhan region to be launched in Baku will increase supply of Russian goods to the Azerbaijani market.
Astrakhan business center will open in Baku in late 2019, said Abdin Farzaliev, head of Narimanov District Executive Power, at a meeting with Igor Babushkin, Acting Governor of Astrakhan Region of Russia.
He noted that the seven-storey center will be located in the center of the capital and will become the largest business center in Azerbaijan.
The foundation of the Astrakhan business center in Baku was laid in December 2017. The center will present products of Astrakhan manufacturers.
The sides also mull the cooperation in the shipbuilding, trade, economic and social spheres.
Babushkin highlighted the prospects of creating a new special economic zone in the port of Olya and invited Azerbaijani side to cooperate in this area. In his words, development of this port area, linking south and north, west and east, will make it possible to transport up to 15 million tons of cargo.
Referring to the tourism in Caspian Sea, he recalled the recent restoration of Astrakhan-Baku air route and proposed to consider increasing the number of flights from Azerbaijan.
“In addition, the organization of maritime cruise will also unite tourism routes of Caspian countries,” he added.
The construction of the modern comfortable ship Peter the Great is nearing completion in Astrakhan, which will operate tourist voyages along the Caspian Sea.
The organization of cruises in the Caspian Sea is planned to start from 2020. Two types of cruises on the liner - short (seven to eight days) and long (13-14 days) - are planned. Short cruises will cover calls to several ports in the northern and southern part of the Caspian Sea, while long cruises will include calls to the ports of all five Caspian countries. Most of the Caspian cruises are planned to begin and end in Baku.
At the first stage, trips will be organized on the Astrakhan-Baku route, and the route will be expanded later. For this purpose, the parties will conduct research to organize round trips on the Moscow-Baku, Astrakhan-Makhachkala-Baku, Baku-Enzeli-Noushehr-Turkmenbashi-Aktau-Astrakhan and other routes.
Currently, work is underway to establish a logistics hub for Azerbaijan's KDY Logistics in Astrakhan region. This project provides for transportation of agricultural products from Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to Russia and other CIS countries.
Babushkin stressed the importance of projects that are implemented in the Astrakhan region by the company and expressed readiness to create all conditions for the formation of a transport hub.
According to statistics, at the beginning of 2018, as many as 56 enterprises with Azerbaijani capital were represented in the Astrakhan region, which is about 12 percent of the total number of foreign enterprises operating in the region. Mainly companies specializing in the manufacture of shipbuilding products, supplies of metal products, building materials and packaging containers, and food products enter the Azerbaijani market from the Astrakhan region.
The Azerbaijani investors became the first foreign businessmen in Astrakhan’s Lotos special economic zone in 2017. Azerbaijan’s ATEF Group of Companies launched the construction of a plant for the production of electrical equipment in the special economic zone. The construction of an electrical equipment plant with $18 million in investment is currently underway.
The main share in the structure of imports from Azerbaijan to the Astrakhan region in 2017 and early 2018 was occupied by drilling pipes, which are supplied to the Russian company Rosneft.