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Interest in joining Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project grows

Monday, December 1
Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are working on an agreement on organizing railway transportation, Azerbaijani Deputy Transport Minister Musa Panahov told reporters on Nov.28.

He said the work under the project for construction of a new railway from Afghanistan to Turkmenistan and linking it with the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is underway, adding that this will create conditions for attracting cargo from Afghanistan and in the opposite direction.

The deputy minister said that alongside with Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan also show great interest in joining the BTK railway project.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.

The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani presidentís decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.

A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A post is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.

A test train is expected to run on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway by late 2014 and it is planned to complete the implementation of the project in 2015.

The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.