Published on : Monday, October 30, 2017
Ilham Aliyev who is the president of Azerbaijan is ready to host his Turkish counterpart Tayyib Erdogan and Giorgi Margvelashvili, a Gergian leader at a ceremony on Monday for the departure of the first train from the Caspian Sea port of Alat, south of the Azeri capital, Baku.
The event would be attended by Nursultan Nazarbayev who is the Kazakh President.
The massive railway project marks the conclusion of a 10-year project to open a railway corridor that links central Asia and Europe via the region of Caucasus. The railway line would extend for 513 miles from Baku to Tbilisi that is the capital of Georgia and the Turkish city of Kars likely to deliver cargo between China and Europe in 12 to 15 days.
The port at Alat that Azerbaijan believes is the largest in the region of the Caspian Sea had been created to offer connections to central Asia.
As much as 8 million tons of cargo might be navigated on the Baku-Tblisi-Kars railway by the year 2025 as per the Azeri government. Passenger services will also be planned to start along the route the next year and this includes sleeper-car services between Baku and Istanbul.
This project was initially scheduled for completion in 2010 and 2012 that had suffered repeated delays as construction costs mounted.
It was incapable of winning financial support from the U.S. and the European Union since the railway avoided passing through Armenia.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are currently in an unresolved conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey had closed its border with Armenia in the year 1993 as it supported Azerbaijan as the two former Soviet neighbors had battled over the disputed territory.
Azerbaijan has invested $640 million from its sovereign wealth fund into improving its existing track on its section of the line and is assisting Georgia to modernize about 153 kilometres of railway to the Turkish border.
Turkey had constructed a brand new 76-kilometre area of railway from Kars to the Georgian border.