During the recent meeting in Baku, the Azerbaijani, Turkish and Georgian transport ministers signed protocols on acceleration of work on the BTK project. A few days ago, we sent about 25 additional pieces of road building hardware to Georgia. If the schedule is observed, all work on the Georgian section might be completed by late But in the event of unforeseen circumstances, completion of the project might be delayed till at the latest," Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said during the meeting.
The same unfortunate tunnel on the Georgian-Turkish border on the Kars-Akhalkalaki section might become one cause for delay on the Georgian section of the railway. The tunnel is to be built through hard basalt formations, which slows down drilling work significantly and might require extra investment in the future. As for other sections of the Marabda-Kartsakhi railway, in principle, the construction of the The Tetritsqaro-Tsalka section of the railway will be built first, then the Tsalka-Akhalkalaki section, the Kartsakhi station and finally the Akhalkalaki station will be built.
By late , the reconstruction of several sections adjacent to the trunk road will be completed, a wheel handling, service and maintenance depot will be built on the border with Turkey and modernization of kilometres of the Georgian railway from Tbilisi to Akhalkalaki will be completed.
By late or mid, the km section from Kars to the Georgian border will be completed, and the tunnel in the mountains will be completed at roughly the same time, so that both sections of the railway will be connected by the end of that year. It has to be said that the Turkish side of the project is also being built in the very difficult geological conditions of mountain terrain; nonetheless, considerable success has been achieved here. The most difficult part will be building the 4-km section on the border across the mountains," Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim stressed.
At any rate, the corridor will be put into operation no later than , and Azerbaijan will need to increase the capacity of its railways in the western direction accordingly, to ensure the unimpeded passage of increased volumes of cargo. Implementation of this project will make it possible to achieve one of the main goals - increasing the average speed of trains to kilometres per hour for passenger trains and 80 kilometres per hour for cargo trains.
The most important objective for participants in the BTK project is to attract enough cargo and passengers for the new corridor. To do this, during the 6th Meeting of the Azerbaijani-Georgian Intergovernmental Commission, the sides agreed to create a Coordinating Council for Transport. They also signed a memorandum on increasing the competitiveness of the BTK transport corridor and created a working group tasked with attracting additional cargo turnover for the route.
The BTK will form a modern core of the Great Silk Road, so within one year after the road is put into operation, we expect to transport more than 1 million passengers and 6 million tons of cargo. The traffic will increase every year," Turkish Transport Minister B. Yildirim stressed. He said that in the future, this figure will increase to 17 million tons. China, in particular, has already voiced its agreement to transport 10 million tons of cargo along the corridor annually.
According to the plan, the BTK corridor will be used to transport mainly dry cargoes to Europe - ferrous and non-ferrous metals, coal, sulphur, cotton and other raw materials and prefabricated products from Central Asia - as well as container cargoes, mostly consumer goods from China. Goods textiles and other customer products from manufacturers in Southern Europe, Turkey and Near East will be sent in the opposite direction for addressees in Georgia and Azerbaijan and on by sea to the markets of Central Asian countries.
Naturally, to make the BTK corridor attractive, Baku, Tbilisi and Ankara will have to implement a much more effective transport strategy, improve infrastructure and capacity, especially at border crossings and, most importantly, agree on efficient cross-border tariffs and harmonize their transit laws.
A Thorny Path — Volume 06 by Georg Ebers.
A railway breakthrough for Naxcivan. As the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is implemented, Azerbaijan is developing plans for the construction of a Kars-Igdir-Naxcivan railway, whose technical projection was sent recently by the Transport Ministry to Turkish partners for consideration.
Back then, three options were considered to unblock the railways of the autonomous republic. Naturally, this would require the building of a new km section of track which would run parallel to the railway section which existed during the Soviet period, running along the left bank of the Araz river on the territory of Zangezur and on across the now-occupied Zangilan, Cabrayil and Fuzuli districts.
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A Thorny Path — Volume 06 on Apple Books
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