Oleg Belozerov: "Freight transit through Russia and Azerbaijan makes a significant contribution to the economic development of our two countries"
Oleg Belozerov, the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways, has met with Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, during his working visit to Baku.
The two men discussed current issues regarding cooperation in the transport sector, as well as prospects for the development of international transport corridors involving the railways of Russia and Azerbaijan.
According to Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan is counting on an increase in rail transit freight from Russia through its territory.
Azerbaijan’s president noted that the volume of transit freight from Russia through Azerbaijan was increasing and expressed confidence that new steps would be taken in this area.
Oleg Belozerov noted for his part the successful cooperation between Azerbaijan Railways and Russian Railways, with the volume of freight traffic increasing by 25% in the first quarter of 2019.
During the meeting, the importance of continuing the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line to create a direct rail link along the North-South International Transport Corridor was also emphasised.
According to Oleg Belozerov, the organisation of transit freight and the definition of new rail routes were making a significant contribution to the economic development of the two countries.
Later, Oleg Belozerov had a meeting with Cavid Gurbanov, the Managing Director of Azerbaijan Railways at the latter’s headquarters in Baku, where the two men discussed joint measures to develop North - South and West - East transport corridors.
The head of Russian Railways expressed his great appreciation of the potential of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line and noted that in order to exploit it to its full capacity, Russian Railways was ready to provide a freight base and relevant transport products.
In addition, a proposal was put forward to create a regular container service from China to Baku, with the establishment of a distribution hub in Azerbaijan.
Speaking about the development of the North-South corridor, Oleg Belozerov said that Russian Railways had formed the basic tariff and logistic transportation parameters and that work was underway with Indian companies to attract a cargo base. At the same time, the construction of the Rasht-Astara line in Iran would allow it to achieve regular traffic volumes amounting to about 100,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) per annum.
The parties also noted the importance of developing their cooperation in electronic form. According to Oleg Belozerov, 87% of the freight transported between Russia and Azerbaijan was already processed in electronic form, up sharply from just 50% last year.
Cavid Gurbanov noted that Russian Railways was today the most important partner for Azerbaijan’s railways. Both the qualifications of employees and the level of development at Russian Railways were a good example for Azerbaijan’s railway workers, he said. Gurbanov also expressed confidence that traffic along the international transport corridors would continue to increase strongly and that the joint projects would be successfully implemented.
The meeting concluded with a decision to continue joint actions with the authorities to optimise border and customs procedures and t consider the possibility of launching passenger services between Makhachkala and Baku.