Trans-Caspian transport route to be more alluring for Europe

By: Nigar Orujova

Azerbaijan can supply up to 54 million tons of cargo to Europe through the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TMTM), said Igbal Huseynov, Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways.

The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route enjoys an opportunity to become attractive and profitable for consignors from European countries.

Approximately 300,000-400,000 containers will be transported via the route by 2020, bringing hundreds of millions of manats in profit to Azerbaijan.

Huseynov, who was addressing the international forum “Bridging Europe and Asia: a new look at the formation of transcontinental routes” in Odessa, further said that all participants of the project wait for commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which is expected in 2016.

The first container train on this route arrived at Baku International Sea Trade Port from China in August. The train, consisting of 44 wagons, departed from the Alashankou export station of the Chinese Urumqi-Xinjiang province and arrived in Tbilisi in eight days transiting through the territory of Azerbaijan.

Levan Sulaberidze, President of Trans Caucasus Terminals, a subsidiary of Georgian Railway, said that in the near future the first train sent by TMTM will arrive in Istanbul – the end point of the route. Another train will be sent on the route before the New Year.

An agreement creating a coordinating committee to develop a Trans-Caspian International Transport Route was signed by Kazakh, Georgian, and Azerbaijani representatives in late 2013

The project is being implemented by Kazakhstan Temyr Zholy, China Railways, Azerbaijan Railways, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and Baku International Sea Trade Port.

Today, Azerbaijan is applying attractive transportation fees in an effort to become a major transport hub of the region. Recently, the country made a nearly 40-percent reduction in the transit cost of cargo transportations by large trucks to the Aktau and Turkmenbashi ports.

Cost reduction for foreign carriers was made after simplification of transit procedures and reduction of tariffs for cargo transport, functioning to Kazakhstan’s Aktau port and Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi port.

Earlier, the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company reduced tariffs by 20 percent in order to improve the attractiveness of maritime transportation of cars traveling from Turkey to Kazakhstan.