Baku-Tbilisi-Istanbul railroad to be launched in the upcoming year
The testing of a new railway line, built by Georgian-Azerbaijani agreement in the framework of the project of construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars-Istanbul route, was successful. According to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the trial drive of the carriage by the LLC ‘Marabda-Kartsakhi Railway’ and the Georgian branch of Azerbaijan Railways on the new site went well. The Company ‘Marabda-Kartsakhi Railway’ described the event as ‘another step towards the successful completion of the entire project.’
"The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is an important project for Georgia and the entire region. This highway has a high economic and geopolitical function. As a result of its engagement, a railway line from Asia to Europe will be opened, the Ministry of the Economy reports. It is planned to finish construction in 2016. And, according to representatives of the government of Georgia, the Georgian section of the work has been completed on time. In the future, construction work will be completed on the Turkish section, and considering the fact that the tunnel-laying under the Bosphorus is coming to an end, the railway will directly link the South Caucasus countries with Europe.
It is no accident that the launch of the test train on the new route coincided with the arrival in Tbilisi of the first composition of the New Silk Road: 21 containers from China came through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijan to Tbilisi, where the first carriage was met by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Economic Development. Irakli Garibashvili said that the new route will connect Asia with Europe through ‘the shortest route, reducing the time of delivery to five times compared to the sea route.’
Having launched the test carriage of the ‘Marabda-Kartsakhi’ railway line immediately after the ceremony of greeting 'the first train from China', the participants of the project have demonstrated that this branch and the entire Baku-Tbilisi-Kars-Istanbul railway line will become an integral part of the new Asia-Europe route, while the bulk of cargo will be transported from the port of Baku to Turkey and Europe through this railway. "We have already calculated how many jobs each container will create,’’ the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dmitry Kumsishvili said.
However, the traffic on the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey railway line does not mean that the work of the Black Sea ports of Poti and Batumi will be redundant. As Georgian Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said, containers from China, destined for Eastern Europe, will be delivered via the Black Sea and from Poti and Batumi to the Romanian and Bulgarian ports.