The Baku- Tbilisi- Kars Railway is a new corridor that will connect Azerbaijan, Georgian and Turkish railways.
The project implementation began in 2007 and construction began in 2008 and it foresees the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 178 km-long railway between Marabda and Akhalkalaki and construction of a new railway from Akhalkalaki to theTurkish border.
This project will effectively open a new
rail-only corridor from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey, eventually
excluding the need for sea transportation once the planned rail tunnel under
the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul is complete.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project could also open a North-South rail
corridor linking Russia to Turkey. This
line will transport both freight and passengers and is expected to provide an
alternative freight transport route to routes that transit through Iran. Management believes this line will be an
important driver of future incremental transport volumes, particular
containerised cargo, although, as it is a new route, management believes it may
take time to attract significant volumes.
Based on current cargo flows and assuming operations on the line
commence as scheduled, management believes that by 2015, the Company will be
able to re-route at least two million tonnes of existing cargo flows
(principally dry cargo currently transported by truck) between Turkey, the
Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia to this route.
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. With respect to Turkey-Russian trade,
management believes there is an opportunity to capture additional volumes,
particularly of dry cargo, that are currently shipped via Iran or the
Russia-Black Sea route.