Opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway - Uninterrupted and Reliable Rail Transport Bridge for the TRACECA Corridor

31.10.2017

On 30 October 2017, at Baku International Sea Trade Port in Alyat, there was held the opening ceremony dedicated to the official launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway with participation of H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and First Lady Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey and his wife Emine Erdogan, H.E. Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Aripov, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan. H.E. Mr. Ahmet Arslan, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications and Chairman of TRACECA National Commission of the Republic of Turkey, the official delegations of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, heads of diplomatic missions, accredited in Baku, leading representatives of the international organizations, international structures, programs, including Mr. Mircea Ciopraga, TRACECA Secretary General and financial institutions.

Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway is a regional rail link project to directly connect Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey through the South Caucasus which becomes an integral part for the international transport corridor TRACECA and through Turkey offers a unique opportunity for uninterrupted and reliable rail communication with the European continent.

Being the most advantageous transit option and the short haul between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, the railway line Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is creating an alternative at the intersection of both between West and East and between a number of northern and southern countries. This rail line is designed to become a key part of the southern route of the emerging new Silk Road network of trade and transport corridors that are coming together between China and Europe.

New opportunities will open, conditions will be created for the development and attractiveness of the corridor. This will significantly reduce the time of delivery of goods and its value, thereby facilitating the transportation procedures. And as a consequence, the presence of these factors will lead to an intensive growth in freight and passenger traffic, increase trade and tourism potential, and ensure budget revenues of the countries involved in the project. And this is important for the dynamic growth of the economy of all participants in the process. 

According to the forecasts, the line is intended to transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the initial stage. The capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo.

At the same time BTK will provide a physical access to the railway network of the European Union countries and of a number of Mediterranean countries. This route will provide the transport of goods from Central Asia, primarily of oil and oil products to the ports of the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey and subsequently to the world markets. 

A new route will ensure smooth goods turnover not only between the region countries, but between the countries located on the opposite shore of the Caspian Sea. Particularly one of the main goals in terms of freight transportation along the railway Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is the creation of powerful port infrastructure. Conceptual design and complex construction of ports on the Caspian will become an important link to form modern transport infrastructure which will lead to a new level of economic and trade cooperation between the countries of Asia and Europe. 

It should be mentioned that Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway was built on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey intergovernmental agreement, which was signed in February 2007.

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Permanent Secretaritat of the IGC TRACECA