Longest freight train on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway

Image: Azerbaijan RailwaysAzerbaijan Railways

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line connecting Azerbaijan to Turkey saw the longest freight train since its opening on its tracks last week. A 940-metre-long freight train consisting of 82 containers ran from Turkey via Georgia to the port of Baku. This shipment set a new milestone for this developing railway corridor in Western Asia.

The 940-metre-long train arrived in Baku on Tuesday, 21 April. The 82 containers were loaded with Turkish-made export goods dedicated to customers in four countries: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This freight train was arranged by ADY Container, a subsidiary of Azerbaijan Railways, in cooperation with its partners from Turkey, Georgia and Central Asia.

Twenty containers have been unloaded in Baku. The major batch of 62 units is continuing its way to Central Asia. In the seaport of Alat they were loaded on several ferries for delivery to the harbours of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on the opposite side of the Caspian Sea. Thirty containers are heading to Türkmenbaşy in Turkmenistan, 24 containers will be delivered to Aktau and eight containers to Kuryk (Quryq) in Kazakhstan. Some of the units to Türkmenbaşy will continue their way by rail to Uzbekistan.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was launched in October 2017. Construction lasted for around ten years and is estimated at around 1 billion US dollars (more than 0.9 billion euros). The 826-kilometre project included the modernisation of the existing infrastructure in Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as the construction of the new 105-kilometre track from the Georgian station of Akhalkalaki to the Turkish junction of Kars.

The line has the capacity to handle at least 6 million tonnes of freight. In 2019 the annual freight traffic on the line was around 109,000 tonnes. The countries interested in using the route regard containerisation as an important tool in attracting more volumes to the corridor.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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