26 Nov 2019 15:21

Port of Baku, Austria's OBB Rail Cargo, Netherlands' Cabooter agree to develop use of Trans-Caspian Railway for freight

BAKU. Nov 26 (Interfax) - The Port of Baku, Austria's OBB Rail Cargo, and the Netherlands' Cabooter Group intend to develop cargo shipping between Europe and Asia, the port said in a statement.

"On November 25th, the Port of Baku, Austria's OBB Rail Cargo Group, and Cabooter Group (NL) signed an agreement on strengthening and expanding freight traffic from Europe to Central Asia and China via the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor)," the statement reads.

Austrian Federal Minister of Transport, Innovation, and Technology Andreas Reichhardt was quoted as saying, "The memorandum of understanding signed today marks a new strategic initiative of the Rail Cargo Group, which is expanding its presence towards Central Asia and China. The Port of Baku is going to play a key role in the development of the initiative. We expect that over a short period, the mentioned route will be very efficient in terms of timing and volumes of cargo transshipment."

Director General of the Port of Baku Taleh Ziyadov said, "This agreement with a new partner, the Austrian OBB Rail Cargo Group, is an important milestone in the expansion of the West-to-East transport corridor from Europe's busiest logistics hubs in the Netherlands, such as Venlo and Germany to Turkey (Istanbul), Azerbaijan (Baku), Central Asia, and further to China."

"In the last 10 years, exports from EU countries to China have increased threefold, making China the EU's second-biggest trade partner. This creates enormous opportunities for the Port of Baku and the Middle Corridor as a whole, as well as for the leading European transport and logistics companies, like OBB RCG and the Cabooter Group," the statement reads.

The port was built on 400 hectares in the village of Alyat. A ferry terminal and ro-ro terminal were built during the first stage of construction and are now operating. The port can handle 15 million tonnes of dry cargo and 100,000 containers per year.

When the second stage is complete, its capacity will increase to 17 million tonnes and 150,000 containers; with the third, to 25 million tonnes and 1 million containers.

The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route is a project intended to increase the transit potential and development of countries in the Caspian region. It goes from China to Europe, passing through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. The participants have created a container service, Nomad Express, and container trains have begun moving from China to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey on a trial basis.