Azerbaijani Economy 4 june — 12:18

Shahin Mustafayev on Azerbaijan's role as transport and energy centre

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'Azerbaijan is doing a lot for the development of the North-South international transport corridor,' Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev said at the panel discussion 'Eurasian regional cooperation in the post-COVID period' at the 24th St Petersburg International Economic Forum, APA reports.

Shahin Mustafayev noted that some time ago the road and railway bridges were opened on the border with Russia: 'We are cooperating with Russia and Iran to develop the North-South corridor. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we have not suspended transit cargo for a single day. From Iran through Azerbaijan, goods were transported to Russia and in the opposite direction. I must say that last year, that is, during the period of the pandemic, transit cargo transportation increased by 19% compared to the previous year... I think, thanks to such cooperation, we will be able to achieve better indicators.'

According to Shahin Mustafayev, after the completion of the construction of the railway line between the cities of Rasht and Astara, cargo transportation will also increase, since it will carry goods to India and the countries of Southeast Asia.

Deputy PM stressed that another important corridor passing through the territory of Azerbaijan is the East-West international transport corridor: 'Azerbaijan closely cooperates with Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. We have built a modern port on the Caspian coast, as well as the important Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line. It connects Russian, Azerbaijani and Georgian railways with Turkish railways and provides direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Today we are witnessing an increase in the volume of cargo traffic from Russia through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the Mediterranean basin.'

Speaking about the role of Azerbaijan as an energy hub of the region, Shahin Mustafayev noted that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline connects the Caspian Sea with the Mediterranean: 'This pipeline transports oil not only to Azerbaijan, but also to Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

'I must note one more aspect of cooperation related to the international transport corridor. This is an energy corridor. We are already developing a feasibility study for the construction of the North-South energy corridor with partners from Russia and Iran. This is a new aspect of the North-South corridor, it will unite Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. As you can see, our oil pipeline system, energy corridor, railway system and highways are united.'

The vice premier also stressed that, according to the World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan ranks 27th in the world in terms of the quality of the road network, 11th in terms of the efficiency of railway transport and 12th in terms of air transport. Azerbaijan has six international airports. Two more are under construction. They will be located in the liberated territories. It is also planned to build an airport in the liberated Kalbajar district.

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