7 May 2019 09:24

RZD in talks to build wide-gauge railway from Georgia to Turkey

MOSCOW. May 7 (Interfax) - The railways of Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan are considering a project to build a second rail line with a gauge of 1520 mm on the Akhalkalaki, Georgia - Kars stretch that would run 76 km through Turkey, as well as a terminal and logistics center in the Turkish city.

The companies signed an agreement on Monday that calls for joint action to support scheduled railway shipments along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route, including setting of economically justified rates and attracting new freight, Russian Railways (RZD) said in a statement.

"The signed [agreement] opens the way to developing shipments along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line, which is now being built under the management of Azerbaijan Railways. And this means that Turkey is joining the integrated process space of the railways of countries in the former Soviet Union, as well as Finland, Bulgaria and Iran," RZD chief executive Oleg Belozerov was quoted as saying.

He said that 6 million tonnes of freight annually is now shipped between Russia and Turkey directly and 20 million tonnes are shipped using different forms of transport, including railways.

The further development of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars corridor "in the very near future" will set the stage for scheduled container traffic and will permanently include Turkey in the system of Eurasian transport corridors, Belozerov said. The line will carry new freight and create new opportunities for developing international logistics, he said.