Georgian Railways back to normal
Wednesday, November 5Georgian Railways, which suffered a GEL 40 million loss during the Russian aggression, has now reestablished its previous work pattern. It continues to carry significant amounts of cargo, generally in the direction of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and its future prospects are very much dependent on the realization of some projects which are presently being actively discussed.
There are no precise figures on the loss Georgian Railways suffered during the conflict, but according to preliminary data it is GEL 40,600,000. Georgian Railways had been working without any problems until the bridge near Kaspi, on the Metekhi-Grakali line, was blown up. Due to this explosion it was impossible to transport goods between August 16 and 24. Armenia was the country most greatly affected by this service seizure. On August 24 an alternative line was opened, and on September 11 the Grakali Bridge was also reconstructed. Since then the goods have flowed as before.
Georgian Railways continues to transfer all the goods it is asked to move to and from Armenia and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan sends part of its oil production westward via Georgian Railways, and some dry goods are transported to Azerbaijan through Georgia. Railway cargo is transported to Armenia only via Georgian territory. Breaking of diplomatic relations with Russia has not had any negative influence on Georgian Railways, because the share of goods it transported through Russian territory was no more than 2-3 %. The total amount of goods transported by Georgian Railways is 22-23 million tonnes annually.
Increasingly the quantity of goods that can be transported by Georgian Railways depends on the modernization of Azeri Railways and on the construction of the Kars-Akhalkalaki railway line. However the current status of these projects is unclear. If the Turkish-Armenian border is opened, nobody will construct the new line and some of the goods transported via Georgia will pass through Turkey. Furthermore, if the railway line is built between Armenia and Iran, this will make it possible to transport goods from Iran to Georgian Black Sea ports via Armenia, providing Russia, which is the owner of Armenian Railways, does not block the project.