2012 – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Rail, Container block train Poti-Tbilisi-Baku
Rail Project – The proposed focuses on the existing connection between the Poti sea port (Black Sea) and Baku sea port (Caspian Sea hub at Alyat) via TRACECA Central Axis. The project has a potential for a geographical extension towards Central Asia - Silk Wind Block Train Project.
Rail transport in the Caucasus remains attractive for heavy containers which cannot be carried by road due to weight limitations. Attractiveness is however reduced owing to a sub-optimal information system and customer service enabling the users to locate their cargo and learn about its status. Georgian Railways and Azerbaijan State Railways have agreed on the scheduled operation of a container train between Pori and Baku and started operations in early 2012. Currently the operation is underway, but with irregular schedule, because of the difficulties with securing container traffic caused by general economic recession (drop of import demand of Azerbaijan, reported by freighforwarders). Nevertheless the main commercial issues are still linked to the insufficient competitiveness of rail transport:
To improve the existing railway connection between ports of Poti and Baku, it is proposed to launch a block container train with the following characteristics:
|36 mln EUR (only rolling stock)|
|Georgian Railways and Azerbaijan State Railways have agreed on the scheduled operation of a container train between Pori and Baku and started operations in early 2012. However, due to a plenty of issues (see technical description) the offered rail service is still lacking competitiveness.|
|Expected impacts on transport, environment, social, other|
Improved regularity, reliability and capacity of existing service; shorter transit time between Poti and Baku; better coordination of transport operations between ports, railways and trade facilitation authorities will bring about a much needed diversion of large cargo-flows presently carried by trucks on roads crossing populated areas and mountainous terrains. The implementation of the BCT Poti-Baku-Poti also represents the first indispensable phase for the development of containerized import trade through Caucasus into Central Asia and attraction of containerizable export cargo out of Central Asia.
A reasonable estimate is that the shifting of minimal volumes (potential traffic: 13.3Mt/year equivalent to 1.33M TEUs) of about 5% from road to rail would save at least 30,000 truck voyages per annum across the Caucasus and allow the implementation of a shuttle service departing daily from Poti and from Baku.
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