Azerbaijan, Netherlands seeking to link each other’s ports
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands is expected to grow in 2018 due to the expansion of bilateral cooperation in agriculture and energy sectors.
“There are a number of trade opportunities between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands. Azerbaijan currently aims at diversifying its economy, and agriculture is one of the key drivers of this process. The Netherlands has rich agricultural tradition, being one of the strongest agricultural countries in the world, and second largest exporter of agricultural products after the United States, so there is a lot of experience that we can share with Azerbaijan,” Dutch Ambassador to Azerbaijan Onno Kervers told Trend.
He added that Azerbaijan also works on development of energy sector, and particularly, of oil and gas projects, and there are many Dutch companies coming to Azerbaijan and expressing willingness to participate in such projects.
“In general, there are of course many spheres that our countries may expand cooperation in, but currently the implementation of energy and agriculture projects remains the main driver of increasing trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands," said the ambassador.
The ambassador said that the two countries are cooperating on development of the Baku Sea Trade Port and its connection with the Dutch ports.
“Representatives of specific hubs in the Netherlands study the ways to share expertise and would like to study the possibilities of connectivity together with the port of Alat. Presently they work on creation of the Netherlands-Azerbaijan business hub, trying to link the port Alat with the Dutch Greenport and port of Venlo,” he said.
He stressed that the large part of the project depends on connection between the business communities of the two countries, without excessive participation of the governments.
“We conduct freight flights between Baku and Maastricht many times a week, and we see the necessity in the expansion of the existing trade links,” said Kervers.
Touching upon the business meetings on cooperation of ports between the two countries, the ambassador said that a delegation from the Azerbaijani Alat port visited the Dutch Greenport and port of Venlo in April 2018, following the visit of Dutch logistics experts to Azerbaijan, when the sides mapped specific options and opportunities for the connection of ports.
Second phase of agriculture project to start
The first phase of the joint project of the Netherlands and Azerbaijan on development of agricultural map for Azerbaijan’s regions was implemented with a big success, said the Dutch ambassador.
“There was an extensive mapping of all the agricultural possibilities, including growing crops, climate, soil, irrigation, economic viability, etc. We were working closely with Azerbaijan’s institutions to see if we can implement the second phase of this project, and decided to launch it in the second half of 2018,” said Kervers.
He added that the second phase of the mentioned project will be more practical.
“We particularly intend to study and implement the construction of special farms in different regions of Azerbaijan after finishing preliminary assessment within the project. That will be a start of the second phase, which I hope will be supported by different institutions and Azerbaijani companies. The second phase of the project will start within nearly three months,” said the ambassador.
He stressed that the first stage of the project on development of agricultural map for Azerbaijani regions allowed the sides to group a big amount of data on agricultural possibilities of the regions, and to make it digitally available, which may be considered as the unique aspect of the project.
“New studies and the existing data are combined to a new model that everybody can use. That was the biggest achievement of the first phase of our joint agricultural project,” said Kervers.
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and the Netherlands in JanuaryApril 2018 amounted to $51.1 million. Export of Azerbaijani products to the Netherlands amounted to $27.2 million; imports from the Netherlands to Azerbaijan, in turn, amounted to $23.9 million.