Azerbaijan – an important geographical area that connects East and West
A video conference was held with the participation of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The main topic of the meeting was the transport corridors initiated by Azerbaijan. The sides stressed the importance of the East-West transport corridor in the region. MPs talked about what the role of the transport corridor amid the pandemic and its prospects for the coming years.
MP Aydin Huseynov said that Azerbaijan's location in the most important geographical part of the East-West corridor increases the importance of our country in this project. "The opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has become almost the most important transport corridor connecting East and West. Currently, there may be some economic difficulties associated with the pandemic. Of course, the pandemic will not last for many years. After overcoming this virus, the world economy will resume its course. All global projects will continue successfully. It is known that cargo is transported from the Far East to Europe by ocean. Previously, at best, shipments took 30-32 days. On the other hand, it is well known that the ocean has always been risky in terms of cargo transportation. The most productive aspect of the economy is time. If the cargo transported from the East to Europe via the existing transport corridors takes more than 30 days, the goods transported from China to Europe are delivered to Europe via Azerbaijan within 17 days,” he noted.
According to the MP, this corridor will also play an important role in bringing currency to our country. "It is known that access to Europe has already been achieved due to the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. On the other hand, Azerbaijan has a huge potential for cargo transportation through the Caspian Sea. In other words, the best way is to deliver cargo to the ports of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan, to the Baku International Sea Trade Port via the Caspian Sea in a short time, and from there to Europe by rail. What this gives us is also an interesting point. First of all, we will get currency as a transit country. On the other hand, service areas will be created that will add value to the further development of the country's economy. The presence of such economic levers on our side shows that the role and initiative of Azerbaijan in the East-West transport corridor is highly valued,” said Huseynov.
"I believe that the gradual renewal of our railway infrastructure, our potential for large cargo transportation in the Caspian Sea, will further increase the role of Azerbaijan here. Most importantly, our geographical location will enrich it even more. Because the passage of cargo not only in the East-West, but also in the North-South direction through the territory of Azerbaijan is very favorable in terms of diversification of the transport system here. This will bring great dividends to the country's economy in the future,” he added.
MP Azer Badamov said that today Azerbaijan is a country that reveals international transport corridors. He stressed that the international transit projects presented by Azerbaijan had led to a significant increase in traffic from our country in both the South-North and West-East directions. According to the MP, the passage of these shipments through our country is profitable and important for both exporters and importers.
"The first test shipment from Afghanistan to Azerbaijan reached 12 days by rail, which means a big saving of time,” he said. "The process is marked as a continuation of the Silk Road on the railway in the future. Work in this direction is being expanded. At the same time, the development of transport corridors means contributing to the growth of government revenues from transit traffic in a difficult economic situation for the world. It also increases the role and importance of Azerbaijan in the region. During the video conference of President Ilham Aliyev with the Presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, the sides highly valued the contribution made in this direction by Azerbaijan and expressed interest in the development of transport corridors.”
Badamov noted that these projects will be even more important in the future because it is impossible to involve transit projects in the transportation of all cargo in that direction from the first day of commissioning. "As the project develops, its importance and profitability are determined by other countries. For example, the East-West transport corridor is fully operational. Since 2019, 8.7 million tons of cargo has been transported in this corridor. In the first four months of this year, it exceeded 3 million tons. This comparison already shows the growth between last year and this year. Over the years, the essence of these projects will increase. For example, if the current capacity of the Baku International Sea Trade Port is 15 million tons and 100,000 containers, after the full commissioning of this project and the involvement of all those segments, this capacity will be increased to 25 million tons and 1 million containers. The economic indicators projected in the future are even higher. Of course, this means an increase in cargo transported through transport corridors, an additional source of funding for Azerbaijan,” he said.