Azerbaijan invests over $5bn in transport

Tue 12 Oct 2010 04:45 GMT | 08:45 Local Time

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The Azerbaijani government has allocated more than $5bn from the budget to develop the transport sector in 2006-2010, the deputy PM said today.

Abid Sharifov was addressing the opening of an international railway forum in Baku, “1520 Strategic Partnership: the Caucasus Region".

"Azerbaijan has set the creation and development of transport corridors as a priority. The North-South and TRACECA projects are being implemented, while new roads along three routes - Russia, Iran and Georgia - are being reconstructed or built," Sharifov said.

"Over $2bn in loans from international financial institutions have been attracted for road construction in 2006-2010 with the country's government providing a $400m share. The state budget has allocated over $5bn to the development of the transport sector," he told the forum.

The deputy prime minister said that over 400 kilometres of trunk roads had already been built and construction would be completed in the coming years.

Development projects in the transport sector will continue with the state program for railway development estimated at $1.2bn, Sharifov said.

"The construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which will be commissioned in 2012, is currently under way. At the initial stage, freight is projected at 15 million tonnes per year."

Arif Asgarov, chairman of Azerbaijani Railways, backed up Sharifov's remarks. He told the opening ceremony about progress on the North-South rail route.

"According to the latest plans, up to 5 million tonnes of freight per year will be carried on the Yalama - Astara section. In future this will increase to 10-15 million tonnes per year. This will require a range of technical measures," Asagarov said.

Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov told the forum that the government attached great importance to regional efforts on transport projects. He said that sea and air transport was also being upgraded, alongside road and rail.

Mammadov said that construction of the new Baku port would begin this year. The port, which should be completed in 2013, will be able to receive 12m tonnes of cargo by 2015.

The first vice-president of Russian Railways, Vadim Morozov, said that his organization considered the North-South project a priority in cooperation with the Caucasus. "The potential size of the corridor's commodity is estimated at 25m tonnes per year. In 2008 the company prepared a project feasibility study, according to which by 2015 the volume of cargo on the route will be 9m tonnes a year and by 2030 19m tonnes," Morozov said.

"In 2009 prices the project is estimated at $410m. It was decided to establish a tripartite consortium to implement the North-South project, but it has not been set up so far. We hope that soon all the issues impeding the project will be resolved," he said.

The North-South project will connect the railways of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran with further access to India. The project includes the completion of a small section of the railway in Azerbaijan and Iran.

Interfax-Azerbaijan,  1news.az

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