ASTANA – The new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is expected to transport up to eight million tonnes of cargo by 2020, said Kazakhstan Temir Zholy President Kanat Alpysbayev during a roundtable in Washington, DC, dedicated to continued development of the route.
“Nearly 15,000 containers are to be transported from Turkey to Kazakhstan, Central Asia, China, the Caspian Sea ports, the Black Sea basin and in the opposite direction. Through 2020, we can safely achieve more than seven-eight million tonnes of traffic through our corridor,” he said in an interview with Khabar News Agency.
Companies using the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route will increase cargo transportation five times by 2020, it reported.
“The BTK route will help implement this. The corridor’s profitability is confirmed by the results – 1.8 million tonnes of cargo were transported within 10 months. The indicators exceed the plan by 80 percent. According to forecasts, by the end of the year the volume will be estimated at 1.3 million tonnes,” it added.
The railway was launched Oct. 30 in Baku. Kazakh Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev took part in the opening ceremony, demonstrating the importance of the project to the Central Asian nation.
“We have just completed the ambassadorial meeting in Washington on the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Global Initiatives Gary Litman. “Obviously, this is part of the much larger picture that involves Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan provided intellectual leadership to the idea of Eurasian infrastructure and has done a lot to connect countries. The future depends on where the country finds new business opportunities. As a representative of American business, we really want to get to the point when there are enough people in the region, in Kazakhstan and its neighbouring countries who can take advantage of the wonderful new railroad.”
The roundtable participants also discussed developing transport systems in the entire Central Asia and South Caucasus region. The talks included foreign diplomatic corps, American government officials and various business people who may be contributing to the project.
Azerbaijan Railways head Javid Gurbanov noted the constant growth in trade turnover between his nation and Kazakhstan.
“In the first nine months of this year, the freight traffic between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan increased 1.5 times compared to the same period last year. This is big. This means that the corridor is already operating in full-fledged mode. According to our estimates and forecasts, by 2019 the cargo transportation should increase by an additional three-four million tonnes,” he said.