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Economy Minister leaves to inspect Baku-Tbilisi-Kars new railway line

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, September 28
Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Gakharia, Turkish Transport, Marine Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmed Arslan, and Azerbaijani Railway Head Javid Kurbanov, have travelled to Kartsakhi by train together with other officials in order to inspect the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line.

The delegation members will visit the Akhalkalaki station and other facilities that are under construction within the project.

Georgia’s Ministry of Economy says that the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is in its final stages.

“70 percent of works on the territory of Georgia has already been completed,” Minister Gakharia said.

“Once the new line is fully in motion a new railway route connecting Europe and Asia will be established that will promote to increase Georgia’s potential, as a transit country,” Georgia’s Economy Ministry reports.

The Ministry says the railway is in the list of the “world’s 100 global projects” assessed as strategic.

Ten years ago, senior officials from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey agreed to jointly implement the railway project to facilitate the transportation of passengers and goods, principally oil.

The project to connect Baku with Kars via Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi by rail was launched in 2007 and construction began in 2008.

Once the railway is fully operational, all three countries will mutually benefit from improved trade and economic relations and gain additional Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) through the new railway connecting Europe and Asia, the countries’ officials claim.

The project’s management believes that increasing trade between Turkey and Central Asia provides it with a significant opportunity to capture trade flows, particularly raw materials imported into Turkey from Central Asia and finished goods exported by Turkey.

In terms of Turkey-Russian trade, the management believes there is an opportunity to capture additional volumes, particularly of dry cargo, that are currently shipped via Iran or Russia-Black Sea route.