South-West cor­ri­dor project gets fur­ther boost

Azer News - - Business - By Kamila Aliyeva

Afive-sided meet­ing of the heads of the rail­way agen­cies of Azer­bai­jan, Iran, Ge­or­gia, Poland and Ukraine kicked off in Baku on June 19.

Chair­man of the Azer­bai­jan Rail­ways Javid Gur­banov, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Ira­nian Rail­ways Said Mo­ham­madzadeh, Chair­man of the Ge­or­gian Rail­ways Ma­muka Bakhtadze, Chair­man of the Ukrainian Rail­ways JSC Balchun Wo­j­ciech and Head of the State Rail­way of Poland Krzysztof Mamin­ski took part in the event.

Gur­banov, ad­dress­ing the meet­ing, gave de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about the work done for in­creas­ing the tran­sit po­ten­tial of the coun­try and in­ter­na­tional trans­port cor­ri­dor, im­ple­men­ta­tion of the re­forms and the chal­lenges ahead.

The rail­way agen­cies of Azer­bai­jan, Iran, Ge­or­gia, Ukraine and Poland, work­ing on the project of the South-West Cor­ri­dor, aim at cre­at­ing a new at­trac­tive lo­gis­tics prod­uct, he said.

This cor­ri­dor will in­clude such coun­tries and re­gions as In­dia, Pak­istan, South­east Asia and the Per­sian Gulf, ac­cord­ing to Gur­banov.

"There are huge hu­man and eco­nomic re­sources on this ter­ri­tory, the an­nual flow of goods from In­dia to Europe amounts to 72 mil­lion tons of cargo, in­clud­ing 25 mil­lion tons from Europe. We are con­fi­dent that the South-West route will work and has a great fu­ture," he said.

He noted that the main points on the cor­ri­dor route are In­dian Mum­bai, Ben­der Ab­bas in Iran, As­tara (Azer­bai­jan), Poti and Ba­tumi in Ge­or­gia and Ukrainian Ch­er­nomorsk. as well as Izov and Slavkov in Poland.

"The to­tal length of the cor­ri­dor is 7,654 km. Our task is to make it at­trac­tive. The air trans­porta­tion is faster, but much more ex­pen­sive and of­fer fewer vol­umes. The sea trans­porta­tion now pre­vails, as it is cheaper than rail, but it takes about 40 days to de­liver the cargo. By rail, the de­liv­ery of goods will take 15 days," Gur­banov said.

He added that the par­ties need to work to­gether to achieve their goals.

"The main goal is to cre­ate a new lo­gis­tics prod­uct, to find out op­por­tu­ni­ties, to bring to­gether po­si­tions, to at­tract large cargo traf­fic to the cor­ri­dor and make it de­mand­able. We have the op­por­tu­ni­ties, ex­pe­ri­ence and will of the first per­sons, as well as our own de­sire. We need to work to­gether," he said.

Par­tic­i­pants of the South-West Trans­port Cor­ri­dor plan to trans­port up to 200,000 tons of cargo by the end of the cur­rent year, ac­cord­ing to Gur­banov.

Chair­man of the Ge­or­gian Rail­way LLC Ma­muka Bakhtadze, in turn, said that Ge­or­gia is ap­ply­ing the low­est tar­iffs for cargo trans­porta­tion via the South-West Cor­ri­dor.

He said the tar­iff ap­plied by the Ge­or­gian Rail­way LLC for the South-West route is $123 per con­tainer. “This is the low­est tar­iff ap­plied by the Ge­or­gian Rail­way LLC. Even do­mes­tic trans­porta­tion is more ex­pen­sive,” Bakhtadze said adding that “this un­der­lines the pri­or­ity Ge­or­gia gives to this cor­ri­dor.”

He noted that in a week, con­sul­ta­tions be­tween the rail­way com­pa­nies of Ge­or­gia, Azer­bai­jan, and Iran will take place in Tbil­isi, and in­vited Ukraine and Poland to par­tic­i­pate in the con­sul­ta­tions.

Bakhtadze fur­ther stressed that the in­te­gra­tion of In­dia is crit­i­cally im­por­tant for the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the cor­ri­dor.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Azer­bai­jan, Iran, Ge­or­gia, Ukraine and Poland have signed a fi­nal pro­to­col on the South-West Trans­port Cor­ri­dor project. The doc­u­ment en­vis­ages ex­pand­ing co­op­er­a­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties on the South West Route in or­der to op­ti­mize cargo trans­porta­tion and in­crease tran­sit ca­pac­ity.

Un­der the doc­u­ment, the co­or­di­na­tion work be­tween the five coun­tries’ rail­way agen­cies on the South-West cor­ri­dor was as­signed to Azer­bai­jan Rail­ways CJSC.

The Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee, un­der which a work­ing group will be cre­ated, will deal with the is­sues of strate­gic im­por­tance and prospects of the cor­ri­dor de­vel­op­ment. The work­ing group will be based in Tehran.

The pro­to­col reads that a Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee meet­ing on the South-West cor­ri­dor will be held in Odessa in Septem­ber.

Along with the Trans-Caspian and North-South cor­ri­dors, the South-West cor­ri­dor is of great im­por­tance for Azer­bai­jan. The South-West cor­ri­dor is sup­posed to run from In­dia to Europe through the Per­sian Gulf, Iran, Azer­bai­jan, Ge­or­gia, and the Black Sea. At an ini­tial stage, it is planned to trans­port 10 mil­lion tons of cargo via this route with the pos­si­bil­ity of in­creas­ing the trans­porta­tion vol­ume by sev­eral times in the fu­ture.

An agree­ment on the South­West cor­ri­dor was signed in 2016 by Azer­bai­jan, Ge­or­gia, Iran, and Ukraine in Baku. The cor­ri­dor will make it pos­si­ble to slash the time of cargo trans­porta­tion from In­dia to Europe by two or three times.

The State Oil Fund of the Repub­lic of Azer­bai­jan (SOFAZ) an­nounces Re­quest for Ser­vice Pro­posal (RFP) for fu­tures clear­ing and ex­e­cu­tion ser­vices in ac­cor­dance with Chap­ter 5 of the Law of the Repub­lic of Azer­bai­jan "On Public Pro­cure­ments".

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