The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is a very big achievement, not only of regional, but also of world importance, National Secretary of the Transport Cooperation Program (TRACECA – Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia) for Azerbaijan Akif Mustafayev told Trend.
Mustafayev emphasized that BTK was implemented thanks to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s principled stance and political will.
“Azerbaijan, thanks to the BTK railway, ensured a direct railway communication with fraternal Turkey and Europe,” he said.
Speaking about the advantages of the project, Mustafayev stressed that earlier, cargo had to be supplied to the Black Sea ports of Georgia and from there via ferries to Europe.
“It was a very long way and it was necessary to transfer goods from one type of transport to another,” he added.
Mustafayev also stressed that thanks to BTK, trains from Asia to Europe began to run on the shortest route.
Moreover, he added that some regions of Russia began to supply their goods through BTK, as it turned out to be more profitable than to supply the same goods through their traditional routes.
“These are mainly the regions that are closer to Kazakhstan and the regions of the North Caucasus,” Mustafayev said, adding that Russia is a strategic partner of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan is interested in Russia’s support for BTK.
The opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was held on October 30, 2017 at the Baku International Sea Trade Port.
The BTK railway was built on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey intergovernmental agreement.
The railway’s peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At an initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.