Azerbaijan`s location to help expand North-South project
"I would like to stress another feature of the project - Azerbaijan will get a way to the Black Sea by rail through Georgia," he said. "Moreover, the way to other Turkish transport channels is being opened thanks to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) project.”
“Thus, it is appropriate to speak about the South-West route, rather than the North-South route,” he said. “North-South” route also intersects with other international transport corridors. So, it is a very important project for us.”
While speaking about the construction pace as part of the North-South corridor, the minister said that Azerbaijan will construct an 8.3 kilometer-missing part of the railway to the Astara river by late 2016.
The minister added that then, together with Iran, a bridge will be built across the river.
He also said that on its territory Iran will build the railway stretching over two kilometers, adding that both countries will build the cargo terminals.
"It has been reported that Iran has already completed more than 80 percent of the Qazvin-Rasht railway construction,” he said. “Other countries are also interested in this project. For example, negotiations on the North-South project will be held with Russia in March-April.”
“Azerbaijan also intends to actively participate in this project implementation because it is strategically important not only for us but also for Iran, Russia, the countries of Northern Europe,” he said.
Mustafayev said that the funds have been envisaged in the state budget-2016 for the first phase project implementation.
He said that Azerbaijan will have no problems with its funding, adding that Iran will also fulfill its obligations.
The minister also spoke about the benefits of this project compared to other transport corridors.
“North-South” route stretching through Azerbaijan is more profitable than alternative routes, such as the Suez Canal-Mediterranean Sea-Northern Europe and Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Northern Europe by each parameter [time, the number of procedures, etc.],” he said. “The advantages of our project are obvious."
Mustafayev stressed that the project will bring big profits to Azerbaijan.
"The profit will depend on the volume of cargo transportation,” he said. “Initially, the volumes to be transported through Azerbaijan will hit five-seven million tons per year. But of course, these volumes will increase by a lot in the future. I think in the future it will be possible to talk about tens of millions of tons."