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31 October 2017, 12:44 | Marta Robbins
Baku – Tbilisi – Kars railway corridor inaugurated
After departing China, trains will cross into Kazakhstan at the Khorgos Gateway before being transported by ferry across the Caspian Sea toward Baku and then heading to Western Europe via Georgia and Turkey.
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey have launched a rail link connecting the three countries, establishing a freight and passenger link between Europe and China that bypasses Russian Federation and Armenia.
The new railway will help expand the geography of freight traffic and reach the capacity of 2 million containers of cargo per year through the territory of Kazakhstan.
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey were already linked by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas line.
Aliyev said at the ceremony that the 826-kilometer railroad is the "shortest and most reliable link between Asia and Europe". In his turn, President Erdogan highlighted the strategic importance of this project for the revival of the New Silk Road and noted that with the inauguration of the BTK project "the key leg of the Middle Corridor has now been completed".
He also pointed out that the new railway will create great social and economic benefits for the entire region while his Azeri counterpart underlined the "historic" significance of the line. Azerbaijan and other countries on the route will have to offer lower tariffs and simplified customs procedures to win business and avoid delays, he said.
The project build the railway was launched in 2007 with an agreement between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. "It is equally important that the corridor will be a factor ensuring stable and secure development of the entire South Caucasus region", he said.
The railway line whose construction cost over $1 billion will also transport up to one million passengers annually.
A new section of railway between Azerbaijan and Turkey, which is set to transform Europe's goods corridor with China, has opened.
"This line will both tie economies and people together".
Kvirikashvili said the project was a "bridge between Asia and Europe".
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