Construction of the $600 million USD Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be fully completed before November 2016, offering immense benefits to the three countries involved.
Once operational Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey will mutually benefit from improved trade and economic relations and gain additional Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) through the new railway connecting Europe and Asia, Agenda.ge reports.
“We plan to start cargo transportation by late 2015 and it is planned to complete work on the electrification of the railway and the creation of other railway infrastructure during next year,” said head of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov yesterday at an international conference titled Prospects of Development of Transit Potential of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani news agency Trend reported the timing of the work depended not only on Azerbaijan but the other project participants.
In particular, Turkey should have built a 75-kilometre stretch of road but to date even laying of the so-called upper part of the railway line hasn’t been completed,” Gurbanov said.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was being constructed according to a trilateral agreement between the Azerbaijan, Georgian and Turkish governments. Ten years ago high officials of all three countries agreed to jointly implement the railway project to facilitate transportation of passengers and goods, principally oil.
Implementation of the project began in 2007 and construction began in 2008. The whole project foresaw the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the 178km-long railway between Marabda and Akhalkalaki and construction of a new railway from Akhalkalaki to the Turkish border, stated Georgian Railways.
Management believed increasing trade between Turkey and Central Asia provided Georgia with a significant opportunity to capture trade flows, particularly raw materials imported into Turkey from Central Asia and finished goods exported by Turkey, said Georgian Railways on its website.
The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tonnes of cargo per year. Initially, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tonnes of cargo.