Am­bas­sador: Hun­gary in­ter­ested in join­ing BTK

Azer News - - Nation - By Narmina Mam­madova

Hun­gary is in­ter­ested in con­nect­ing to Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars (BTK) rail­way, Hun­gar­ian Am­bas­sador to Azer­bai­jan Vik­tor Szed­erkenyi told Trend.

For Hun­gary every in­fras­truc­tural project is im­por­tant, which con­nects Europe and Asia, said the en­voy, adding that in this re­gard, the coun­try at­taches great im­por­tance to Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way.

"We con­sider that the BTK is a global, open project, and of course Hun­gar­ian side is in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing and con­nect­ing to it, be­cause this rail­way line will shorten the trans­porta­tion dis­tance and time to and from Asia. This is­sue is reg­u­larly on the agenda of our po­lit­i­cal meet­ings," said Szed­erkenyi.

Fur­ther, the di­plo­mat pointed out that the Alat Sea Trade Port project is ex­am­ined by the Hun­gar­ian side, as well as the op­er­at­ing con­di­tions of the free trade zone es­tab­lished in the port.

As the Alat har­bor is op­er­at­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of the North-South and East-West trans­port cor­ri­dors, Hun­gary sees that it is be­com­ing the mul­ti­modal hub of the Caspian re­gion, noted Szed­erkenyi.

"In gen­eral, we want Hun­gary to be­come Azer­bai­jan’s gate­way to the EU mar­kets, we also be­lieve that Azer­bai­jan – through its multi-vec­toral in­fras­truc­ture projects – may be­come our gate­way to the larger re­gion," said the am­bas­sador.

On Oc­to­ber 30, a solemn cer­e­mony on the oc­ca­sion of the open­ing of the BTK rail­way was held at the Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port. Two trains from Kaza­khstan to Turk­ish Mersin have al­ready been sent via this route. The first train, con­sist­ing of 30 con­tain­ers, on Novem­ber 4, de­liv­ered 600 tons of wheat to the Turk­ish city of Mersin. The sec­ond freight train left Kaza­khstan on Novem­ber 27. The train has al­ready reached Ge­or­gia.

The BTK rail­way is con­structed on the ba­sis of the Azer­bai­jan-Ge­or­gia-Tur­key in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment. The main pur­pose of the project is to im­prove eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween the three coun­tries and at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment by con­nect­ing Europe and Asia.

In fact, the BTK rail­way route is the short­est way to de­liver cargo from the Rus­sian re­gions lo­cated in the Volga, Ural and Siberian Fed­eral Dis­tricts to the Mediter­ranean ports of Tur­key, and fur­ther to the coun­tries of Africa and the Mid­dle East.

The project im­ple­men­ta­tion be­gan in 2007 and con­struc­tion be­gan in 2008. The line is in­tended to trans­port one mil­lion pas­sen­gers and 6.5 mil­lion tons of freight at the first stage. This ca­pac­ity will then reach 3 mil­lion pas­sen­gers and 17 mil­lion tons of cargo.

The Port in Alat, which will be­come the big­gest port on the Caspian Sea, is an im­por­tant part of Azer­bai­jan's trans­port in­fras­truc­ture.

The Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port is lo­cated on an area of 400 hectares of land, of which about 100-115 ha cover the area for the devel­op­ment of the in­ter­na­tional Lo­gis­tics and Trade Zone. The north­ern ar­eas around the port are re­served for fu­ture ex­pan­sion of lo­gis­tics, in­dus­trial, and man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­tiv­ity.

The Port is ex­pected to be­come one of the lead­ing trade and lo­gis­tics hubs of Eura­sia. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of all three phases of con­struc­tion is pro­jected to in­crease the ca­pac­ity up to 7,660 tons on a daily ba­sis.

The cargo han­dling ca­pac­ity of the port, opened on May 14, 2018 with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev, within the first phase is 15 mil­lion tons, in­clud­ing 100,000 con­tain­ers per year. Seven of 12 ex­ist­ing berths serve dry cargo ships, two berths - fer­ries, two more berths - Ro-Ro and Ro-Pax ves­sels.

In 2017, the vol­ume of freight traf­fic through the Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port (ex­clud­ing the oil ter­mi­nal) rose by 31 per­cent and to­taled 4.4 mil­lion tons as com­pared to 2016. About 85.7 per­cent of the to­tal vol­ume ac­counted for the share of tran­sit cargo trans­porta­tion.

Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev signed a de­cree on March 17, 2016, on mea­sures to cre­ate a free trade zone type spe­cial eco­nomic area cov­er­ing the ter­ri­tory of the Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port in the Alat town­ship of Baku’s Garadagh Dis­trict.

The FTZ is ex­pected to bring up to $1 bil­lion just in the first few years. Spe­cial tax and cus­toms pol­icy, which will be pur­sued in the ter­ri­tory of the free trade zone will also stip­u­late fur­ther devel­op­ment and sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of a num­ber of pro­ce­dures.

The Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port has signed a num­ber of doc­u­ments on co­op­er­a­tion with for­eign part­ners.

Mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing were signed be­tween Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port CJSC and China’s Lianyun­gang Port Hold­ing Group Ltd, China’s COSCO SHIP­PING Lines Co., LTD and Mum­bai Port Trust (In­dia).

The mem­o­ran­dum of co­op­er­a­tion was signed be­tween the Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port and China’s Port of Guangzhou.

All above men­tioned mea­sures un­der­taken will un­doubt­edly play an im­por­tant role in strength­en­ing the coun­try's trans­port in­fras­truc­ture.

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