Transport ministers of member countries to consider Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway

A meeting of the transport ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria will be held in late April, during which prospects for the 2013 turnover of goods using the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which is under construction will be discussed, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Regional Policy of Georgia Ramaz Nikolaishvili said after a meeting with the Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications of Bulgaria Ivailo Moskovski.

“We have agreed to discuss the transport prospects of the region and primarily the flow of goods through the BTK,” he said.

Nikolaishvili said that the railway is of great importance for the countries of the region and will increase the traffic flow from Europe to Asia. “In 2013, it will be possible to fully load this way, as the BTK railroad will operate,” he said.

The project sees the laying of a new, 105-kilometre section, including 76 and 29 kilometres to pass through Turkey and Georgia, respectively.

The railway’s peak throughput capacity will reach 17 million tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this index will be equivalent to one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.

In 2007, Azerbaijan allocated $200 million to Georgia as a loan to finance the construction and rehabilitation of the Georgian section of the railway. An agreement to allocate the additional $575 million to the Georgian side was signed on July 1, 2011. These funds are allocated for a period of 25 years, at a rate of five per cent. The loan will be repaid with funds received from the operation of the railway.

The first loan of $200 million has been allocated to the Georgian side for 25 years, but at a rate of one per cent.

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