The messenger logo

BTK railway to increase Azerbaijan’s export potential - expert

Thursday, November 2
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will increase the export potential of Azerbaijan, Anar Asgarov, former adviser to Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov, said Oct. 31.

Commissioning of the BTK railway Oct.30 became one of the most significant economic events of the current year, he said.

“This railway, which will link many countries, is important in both the economic and political spheres,” he noted. “All countries using this route, initiated by Azerbaijan, or rather head of state Ilham Aliyev, will have financial dividends from the BTK project.”

The expert noted that with the end of the era of high prices for energy carriers, in particular oil, in order to maintain the positive dynamics of Azerbaijan’s GDP, steps were taken to increase budget revenues from the non-oil sector.

“A lot of work was done in the field of tourism, and this immediately brought benefits due to the timely created infrastructure,” Asgarov added. “In the future, the BTK railway can make significant contribution to the development of tourism in Azerbaijan due to the passenger flow on this route.”

The expert stressed that over the past years, big reforms under the leadership of the Azerbaijani president have been carried out for the development of agriculture.

“It is no secret that in the coming years, Azerbaijan will cover its needs and will export its agricultural products in quite large volumes,” Asgarov said. “The BTK railway can play a key role at this stage. When the cost of agricultural products is formed, transport expenditures account for 40-60 percent of this cost. If one considers that there is a lot of competition in this sphere, a manufacturer with minimal transportation costs will win.”

“As for the cheapness of tariffs, only water transport is cheaper than rail transport,” the expert added. “For the efficient sale of agricultural products with maximum income in foreign markets, sometimes 0.05-0.1 cent price preference is enough. In the future, this may also help to conquer certain markets in the long term.”

In the expert’s opinion, the BTK railway, as well as the International North-South Transport Corridor project, plays a great role in increasing Azerbaijan’s export potential. The relevance of these transport corridors will grow as the exports of products to foreign markets increase, he added.

“I would also like to note that the above mentioned project was initiated by the Azerbaijani president way earlier than the recession in the energy markets began, and this again proves the far-sighted economic policy pursued by the head of state,” Asgarov said.

The official opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was held in Baku Oct.30. The BTK railway was constructed on the basis a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement. The railway’s peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At an initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo. (