Azerbaijan develops further maritime transport

By: Gulgiz Dadashoa

The transport sector development, including the marine transport, is viewed as one of the necessary and important requisites for further restructuring of Azerbaijan’s growing economy.

Marine transport in Azerbaijan is going through a period of healing and renewal of the fleet of vessels. This will allow it to gain even higher position in the region, said Vugar Sadigov, Assistant to the Director of Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea Shipping Company CJSC.

Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea Shipping Company, CASPAR, is a major ship owning company in the Caspian basin and its main activity is cargo transportation with the predominance of oil and oil products in Caspian, Black, Mediterranean and Marmara Sea. Azerbaijan’s capital city Baku is the largest port in the Caspian Sea.

He said CASPAR has decommissioned 20 older vessels and the work is underway on renewal of other vessels.

“In particular, work has begun on the construction of three new passenger ships in the Baku Shipyard. Along with this, the company regularly buys new vessels,” Sadigov said.

He said the Baku Shipyard has received a lot of orders, so the company is unable to increase their number for its own needs. But, with increasing capacity of the shipyard, CASPAR will be able to increase the number of orders.

Sadigov also spoke about the lower level of cargo transportation via sea, citing the write-off of old ships, and redeployment of all cargo on the existing fleet of ships as the main reasons behind the trend.

“The volume of traffic with the old ships was higher, but they [the vessels] were unprofitable. Despite the decline [in transportation], after the decommissioning of old ships, the economic feasibility of the transportation increased. However, the development of maritime transport will achieve even higher positions,” Sadikhov said.

Some 230,470 metric tons of cargo was transported via the sea transport, 2.4 million metric tons – via railways, 455,540 metric tons – via the road transport and 80,980 metric tons of cargo was transported via air transport in Azerbaijan in January- October 2014.

Azerbaijan’s Caspian Shipping Company includes a transport fleet and a specialized fleet and shipyards. The company said its transport fleet consists of 96 vessels, including 33 tankers, 13 ferries, 14 universal bulk carriers, 2 Ro-Ro vessels, as well as technical and support vessels.

The specialized fleet has 184 vessels, including 23 tugboats and supply vessels, 15 – crane, two – diving, two pipe-laying vessels, five– engineering- geological, two passenger ships and many other ships of small displacement.

Earlier it was reported that C ASPAR will receive three passenger ships in the first half of 2016. “Baku Shipyard” LLC is involved in their construction.

The shipyard received an order for the construction of three passenger vessels with a capacity of 80 people each in May 2014.

The cost of each passenger vessel is estimated at about 8.5 million manats. ($ over 10.8 million )

The length of a vessel with a capacity of 80 people will be 38.22 meters, width – 8.2 meters, depth – 4.18 meters, draft – 2.25 meters. The speed of new vessels will be 20 knots. This will allow passengers quickly to get to their destination. Moreover, the carrying capacity of 50 metric tons is a positive technical index for passenger ships.

“Baku Shipyard” LLC – a joint venture of Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) and “Keppel Offshore & Marine” was commissioned in September 2013. The shipyard is designed for constructing a large range of specialized and merchant ships, including multi-purpose vessels, such as platform supply vessels, as well as tankers and cargo ships. The enterprise also has ship-repair capabilities.

Once it reaches full capacity, the shipyard will be able to carry out up to 100 repairs or rebuilding works a year.