Azerbaijan guarantees safe and expedited transit traffic
Located at the intersection of the North-South and East-West transport corridors, Azerbaijan is recognized as an important transport and logistics hub in the region. In this area, fruitful cooperation is being conducted with the countries of the European Union. The East-West, North-South and South-West international transport corridors, crossing the territory of the country, are beneficial for the transport of goods both in terms of distance and time savings. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway, Baku International Seaport further expands the possibilities of these transport corridors. Against the backdrop of these opportunities, the volume of freight in transit is increasing significantly, Azernews reports by Trend.
Transit cargo traffic through the territory of Azerbaijan increased by about 30% in the first half of 2022. In some directions, especially along the North-Western transport corridor, the growth of this indicator increased raised to 300%. In January-June 2022, the transportation of oil of Turkmen origin through the BTC pipeline increased by 746 thousand tons (155%) compared to the corresponding period in 2021 and amounted to 1.2 million tons. In the first 6 months of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, the transport of petroleum products (especially of Kazakh origin) by rail in the direction of Yalama – Boyuk Kesik increased by 772,000 tons (i.e. an increase of 707%) and amounted to 0.9 million tonnes.
Occupying a strategic central position between Europe and China and endowed with developed air, rail, pipeline and maritime infrastructure, Azerbaijan is emerging as a new leading logistics center in the face of the revamping of supply chains. global supplies in Eurasia.
In this regard, it should be noted that a decision was recently taken in the country to create a single headquarters for the management of the transport of goods in transit. The main objective of the headquarters is to simplify and digitize the procedures at border control points, improve the processes of planning and synchronized management of transit operations through a single dispatcher. Headquarters will monitor operations and submit regular reports to the Coordinating Council Secretariat. A call center will also be set up at headquarters to quickly resolve cargo carrier issues during transit. A “transit roadmap” has been developed, which defines short, medium and long-term objectives for the full disclosure of the country’s transit potential.
Among the measures taken by the customs authorities to develop the transit potential of Azerbaijan, an important place is taken by the simplification of intermodal transport. Steps have been taken to connect to the new European computerized transit system. Thus, from June 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022, in order to adhere to the Convention on Common Transit Procedures, to simplify documentation in the exchange of goods and to support the National Customs Committee in the process of joining the new computerized transit system, the EU has set up an appropriate twinning project. Its main objective was to simplify trade procedures between EU countries and Azerbaijan.
In addition, the Web Transit digital service will soon be launched in Azerbaijan. This platform will improve the efficiency of the declaration process at customs points and contribute to the expansion of Azerbaijan’s transit possibilities. Its launch will make it possible to provide customs authorities with the necessary information on goods and vehicles intended to transit through the customs territory and transit customs declaration in advance, as well as to speed up customs transit procedures by making payments through the electronic system.
The cooperation agreement signed in the middle of this month between the Turkish holding company Albayrak and the port of Baku will also increase the transit potential of Azerbaijan. As part of the agreement, Albayrak Holding will invest in the construction and management of a bulk cargo terminal in the port of Baku, as well as in the management of a Ro-Ro terminal to redirect wheeled vehicles Central Asian Turks to Azerbaijan. Container transshipment through the port is increasing every year. If in 2018 22,887 containers were transshipped through the port of Baku, then in 2019 – 35,024, in 2020 – 40,345 and in 2021 – 45,025. Transshipment of containers through the port in 2021 almost doubled compared to 2018. By the end of this year, an even greater increase in this indicator is expected. According to the latest data, in the first half of 2022, the Port of Baku increased container transshipment by 31.8% compared to the same period last year – up to 27,844 TEU containers.
The Permanent Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Commission of the Eurasian Transport Corridor (TRACECA) predicts that in the current geopolitical situation, container freight transport from China to Europe and through the territory of Azerbaijan will increase by three to five. times by the end of 2022 compared to previous years. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the transport infrastructure of Azerbaijan is ready for a sharp increase in the flow of transit goods. It should be noted that Turkmenistan is also interested in joining TRACECA, which will make a significant contribution to the development of the transport corridor and further strengthen the role of Azerbaijan as a transit country.
The importance of the Middle Corridor is also increasing, in which Azerbaijan is also an important link. The Middle Corridor – the route from China to Europe – plays a big role in the current agenda. Trade disruptions in Eurasia and around the world have greatly increased the importance of the Middle Corridor linking East and South Asia with the European part of the continent. Azerbaijan is essential to the viability of this medium corridor through Eurasia.
Full utilization of roads through Zangezur will greatly facilitate Trans-Eurasian transportation and ensure the development of the Middle Corridor. This will have a positive economic impact on the whole region, from the Black Sea through the Caucasus and Central Asia to India, China and other countries in East and South Asia. The Zangezur Corridor is an important route that helps to optimize the transport and logistics schemes of our region, as well as creating opportunities for the transport of much larger volumes of goods. Indeed, with the establishment of the Zangezur corridor, our country will have the possibility of increasing its non-oil and non-primary exports. The growth of trade through the Zangezur Corridor, which will also allow the export of electricity, will contribute to the prosperity of Azerbaijan and the region as a whole.
The realization of the transit potential of our country, which has a favorable geographical position, is of great importance in the policy of economic diversification. At the same time, the development of international and regional transport corridors has a positive effect on improving the efficiency of the economy. Joint projects in the fields of transport, infrastructure and logistics expand Azerbaijan’s economic opportunities and increase its significance. Azerbaijan provides efficient organization of transit transportation of goods to various destinations. This enables safe and fast delivery within a short period of time on more favorable terms. Transit routes continue to develop, trade increases, which ultimately leads to the prosperity of Azerbaijan and the entire region.
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