Trans­port sec­tor gets boosted

Azer News - - Nation - By Narmina Mam­madova

The trans­port sec­tor has a di­rect im­pact on the de­vel­op­ment of other sec­tors of the econ­omy, con­trib­utes to the growth of tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties. Thus, the Azer­bai­jani gov­ern­ment pays great at­ten­tion to this area, aim­ing to be­come the key link in any trans­port and lo­gis­tics projects of re­gional and in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance.

Large-scale works on the im­prove­ment of roads of in­ter­na­tional and repub­li­can im­por­tance with the use of mod­ern tech­nolo­gies are on­go­ing in Azer­bai­jan. In the field of road trans­port, work is un­der­way to up­date the freight and pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle fleet, strengthen the po­si­tion and tech­ni­cal equip­ment of na­tional car­ri­ers, im­prove the meth­ods of or­ga­niz­ing in­ter­na­tional trans­porta­tion, in­tro­duce dig­i­tal tachographs and ap­ply a “sin­gle win­dow” sys­tem.At the same time, the mod­ern­iza­tion of the coun­try's rail­way trans­port is un­der­way.

The great im­por­tance of the Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way should be noted in this re­gard. Pro­vid­ing the short­est rail link be­tween Europe and Asia, BTK plays an im­por­tant role in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of China's "One Belt, One Road" strat­egy and the In­ter­na­tional North-South Trans­port Cor­ri­dor project.

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.

At present, the BTK pro­vides trans­porta­tion from Kaza­khstan to Mersin port. Some car­goes are de­liv­ered from Rus­sia to Turkey and Europe.

The BTK rail­way has been con­structed on the ba­sis a Ge­or­gian-Azer­bai­jani-Turk­ish in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment. 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 cargo at the first stage. This ca­pac­ity will then reach 3 mil­lion pas­sen­gers and 17 mil­lion tons of cargo.

The main pur­pose of the project was to im­prove eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween the three coun­tries and at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment by con­nect­ing Europe and Asia. The or­ga­ni­za­tion of pas­sen­ger trans­porta­tion on the Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars route is planned for the third quar­ter of 2019 as well.

An­other im­por­tant route is Lapis Lazuli trans­port cor­ri­dor. Afghanistan, Turkey, Turk­menistan, Azer­bai­jan and Ge­or­gia signed an agree­ment on the cre­ation of the Lapis Lazuli trans­port cor­ri­dor which is set to con­nect the five coun­tries on Novem­ber 15, 2017.

The first tran­sit cargo ar­rived to the Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port via the Lapis Lazuli in­ter­na­tional route on De­cem­ber 25. The Lapis-Lazuli route will al­low the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries to di­ver­sify their ac­cess to re­gional and con­ti­nen­tal mar­kets. This, in turn, will lead to the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­tries ly­ing along this cor­ri­dor. Azer­bai­jan, for in­stance, will get huge ben­e­fits be­ing a tran­sit coun­try.

The trans-re­gional cor­ri­dor en­com­passes mainly rail­ways and high­ways, which con­nect the city of Torghundi in the Afghan prov­ince of Herat with the port of Turk­men­bashi on the shore of the Caspian Sea via Ash­ga­bat.

From Turk­men­bashi, goods travel fur­ther by ferry to Baku, where they are placed on train cars and con­tinue west­ward to Europe across the South Cau­ca­sus via the newly launched Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way. Fur­ther, the cor­ri­dor passes through Tbil­isi to Ankara with branches to Poti and Ba­tumi, and, then, from Ankara to Is­tan­bul.

Con­sul­ta­tions on the cre­ation of the trans­port cor­ri­dor be­gan back in 2012. The ini­tia­tive seeks to im­prove trans­port in­fra­struc­ture and pro­ce­dures (in­clud­ing for road, rail, and sea), in­crease ex­ports, and ex­pand the eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties of cit­i­zens in coun­tries ben­e­fit­ing from this new trans­port cor­ri­dor.

Bar­ri­ers to re­gional trade and tran­sit and trans­ac­tion costs will be re­duced, in part, through a new Cus­tom In­te­gra­tion Pro­ce­dure and, be­tween Afghanistan and Turk­menistan, a new Cross-Bor­der Trans­port Agree­ment. Its pro­jected im­pact is con­sid­er­able not only be­cause most of the needed in­fra­struc­ture is al­ready in place, but also be­cause most of the in­vest­ment re­quired will fo­cus on im­prov­ing pol­icy and gover­nance.

The name ‘Lapis Lazuli’ is de­rived from the his­toric route that Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and other semi­precious stones were ex­ported along, over 2,000 years ago, to the Cau­ca­sus, Rus­sia, the Balkans, Europe, and North Africa.

Azer­bai­jan is in­ter­ested in the de­vel­op­ment both the "North-South" and "West-East" Trans­port Cor­ri­dors. The coun­try is a cen­tral ter­ri­tory in both cases.

TRACECA is an in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion pro­gram in the field of trans­port be­tween the EU and part­ner coun­tries in Eastern Europe, South Cau­ca­sus and Cen­tral Asia.

The pro­gram was es­tab­lished at the Brus­sels con­fer­ence on 3 May 1993 which was at­tended by the min­is­ters of trans­port and trade of eight states -- Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ta­jik­istan, Turk­menistan, Uzbek­istan, Azer­bai­jan, Ge­or­gia and Ar­me­nia.

The Europe-Cau­ca­sus-Asia Trans­port Cor­ri­dor (TRACECA) is in­volved in grad­u­ally de­vel­op­ing trends of trade and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Ma­jor traf­fic flows pass­ing through a cor­ri­dor formed on the one hand, in Western and Cen­tral Europe, and on the other in Cen­tral and South-East Asia.

Two very im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional trans­port cor­ri­dors pass through Azer­bai­jan - the in­ter­na­tional North-South cor­ri­dor con­nect­ing In­dia, Iran, Azer­bai­jan, North-West Rus­sia and the Baltic sea re­gion, as well as the trans­port cor­ri­dor Europe-Cau­ca­sus-Asia – TRACECA, which is a part of the new Silk Road and cre­ates a strate­gic link be­tween the Caspian and the Black seas.

In this re­gard, Azer­bai­jan has ex­cel­lent prospects for the de­vel­op­ment of freight trans­port. The de­vel­op­ment of rail­way com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Iran will strengthen the North-South cor­ri­dor, and the re­cently opened Baku-Tbil­isi-Kars rail­way line will de­velop freight traf­fic in the East-West di­rec­tion.

Work to up­date the navy is also car­ried out reg­u­larly. For the wide­spread use of mul­ti­modal trans­port in the Caspian re­gion, to fa­cil­i­tate and in­crease the vol­ume of mar­itime trans­port in gen­eral, new tankers and fer­ries are pur­chased.

Azer­bai­jan pins great hopes on the Baku In­ter­na­tional Sea Trade Port.This port is prob­a­bly the most mod­ern in the Caspian basin.

The port, con­struc­tion of which be­gan in 2007, is ex­pected to be­come one of the lead­ing trade and lo­gis­tics hubs of Eura­sia. Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev laid the foun­da­tion stone for the new port on Novem­ber 3, 2010.

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of all three phases of con­struc­tion is pro­jected to in­crease the ca­pac­ity up to 7,660 tons on a daily ba­sis.

Port of Baku will trade & be­come the ma­jor cen­tre for con­sol­i­da­tion, con­cen­tra­tion and distri­bu­tion, pro­vid­ing a wide range of value-added ser­vices in the re­gion to the mar­kets of the South Cau­ca­sus, Cen­tral Asia, Iran, south­ern Rus­sia and Turkey.

Also, the cre­ation of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) that will en­sure a wider tran­sit and trans­port po­ten­tial of the coun­try is en­vis­aged on the ter­ri­tory of the port.

Azer­bai­jani na­tional sec­re­tary in TRACECA, ex­pert in the field of trans­port and lo­gis­tics Akif Mustafayev tol Trend that Azer­bai­jan is in­deed turn­ing into an in­ter­na­tional trans­port and lo­gis­tics hub.

The ex­pert noted that Azer­bai­jan has be­come a key coun­try in the re­gion.

“It is im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine the im­ple­men­ta­tion of any projects in the re­gion with­out the Azer­bai­jan’s par­tic­i­pa­tion,” he said.

Mustafayev added that in or­der to make more cargo pass through the ter­ri­tory of Azer­bai­jan, tar­iffs should be at­trac­tive.

“We also need to sim­plify cus­toms pro­ce­dures and pay at­ten­tion to dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies so that all doc­u­men­ta­tion comes elec­tron­i­cally. The Cus­toms Com­mit­tee is work­ing on this,” the ex­pert said.

Mustafayev re­called that in 2019 the cargo will pass through the “Green Cor­ri­dor” - that is, with­out stop­ping. “And if there are stops, they will be short-term. Trucks of those or­ga­ni­za­tions and struc­tures that have al­ready won con­fi­dence will pass through the “Green Cor­ri­dor”. The Cus­toms Com­mit­tee is al­ready ne­go­ti­at­ing with such or­ga­ni­za­tions,” Mustafayev ex­plained.

On May 21, 2016 the Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev signed or­der on us­ing the Rules of “Green Cor­ri­dor” and other re­lease sys­tems for con­veyance of the goods and means of trans­port across the cus­toms bor­der.

Ac­cord­ing to the amend­ments to the Cus­toms Code of Azer­bai­jan, in­tro­duced in line with Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev’s de­cree, dated Novem­ber 30, 2016, in or­der to sim­plify the cus­toms reg­is­tra­tion of goods and ve­hi­cles pass­ing through cus­toms bor­der cross­ing points, green, blue, yel­low and red sys­tems can be used on the ba­sis of a short im­port dec­la­ra­tion.

“Green cor­ri­dor” con­sti­tutes im­me­di­ate re­lease of goods with­out ex­am­i­na­tion based on the cus­toms con­trol and the risk as­sess­ment con­ducted in ac­cor­dance with the short im­port dec­la­ra­tion which is sub­mit­ted in elec­tronic form in ad­vance. The main goal is to re­duce the in­ter­ac­tion of cit­i­zens with of­fi­cials.

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