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The freight carried on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway increased exponentially to 155 thousand tons

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister said, “BTK Railway Line freight, which was approximately 78 thousand tons in the first quarter of 2020, reached 154 thousand 836 tons with 2 thousand 468 wagons in the first quarter of this year.”

Adil Karaismailoglu, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, stated that railway transportation is becoming increasingly important, and added saying, “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway Line cargo transportation, which was approximately 78 thousand tons in the first quarter of 2020, reached 154 thousand 836 tons with 2 thousand 468 wagons in the first quarter of this year.”

Karaismailoglu gave information to the AA correspondent about the freight transportation carried out by the railway lines.

Stating that railway transportation has become more effective to ensure the continuity of trade under the conditions of the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, Karaismailoglu said that in the first quarter of this year, domestic and international rail transport increased by 30% compared to the same period last year. “In 2020, there was a 25% increase in rail freight transport in the direction of Europe compared to the previous year, and the same momentum continues this year.”

Karaismailoglu pointed out that the demand for transportation carried out by TCDD General Directorate of Transport to Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Czechia, France and Germany in the European direction is increasing day by day, he added saying that in order to meet this, the current train service was increased and new block freight trains were put into service.

Minister pointed out that the truck body transportation between Turkey and Europe is also increasing, and continued as follows:

“With this type of transport, which allows 2 truck body to be transported in a single wagon in specially equipped wagons, loads that need to be transported by hundreds of trucks are transported to their destination by a small number of trains without causing traffic on the road. This has many advantages in terms of cost, time and environment.”

Minister Karaismailoglu stated that the private sector is also investing in truck body transportation and that efforts are continuing to start truck body transportation in different destinations, and this will be started this year from Anatolia via Marmaray.

“The target for Turkey-Iran transports this year is 1 million tons”

Karaismailoglu stated that the freight transportation between Turkey and Iran increased by 60% in 2020 compared to the previous year, and that the Van Lake ferries, which increased the existing capacity and speed by being newly commissioned, provided very important advantages in Iran-direction transportation.

Karaismailoglu stated that efforts are underway to increase Turkey-Iran shipments to 1 million tons this year and to transport cargo to Pakistan, Afghanistan and China via Iran. He said that very good projects were realized with the cooperation of friendly and brotherly countries, and that the most concrete example of this is the BTK Railway Line.

He stated that block freight trains were operated to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as Russia and China, and the recent Suez Canal crisis also demonstrated the importance of the Middle Corridor passing through Turkey.

Karaismailoglu stated that a total of 396,778 tons of freight was transported over the BTK Railway Line and the Middle Corridor last year, with an increase of 104% compared to 2019, and said:

“BTK freight transportation, which was approximately 78 thousand tons in the first quarter of 2020, reached 154 thousand 836 tons with a total of 2 thousand 468 wagons in the first quarter of this year. BTK Railway Line, which gives a new direction to world rail transport, and the Middle Corridor, has a large load demand due to the epidemic. The Middle Corridor offers important opportunities for freight traffic in Asia to reach the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean Region, thanks to our country’s port connections. The countries through which the Middle Corridor passes from the Euro-China trade traffic, which amounts to $710 billion annually, will gain a significant amount of economic gain.”

“335 thousand tons of freight was transported from Marmaray”

Karaismailoglu said that they want to make Turkey the center country in transit railway transportation with the studies they will do considering the cargo potential between Asia and Europe.

He pointed out that Marmaray, which enables uninterrupted rail transportation between continents, is also a milestone in freight transportation, so that 335 thousand 455 tons of freight is transported with 766 freight trains domestically and abroad, “Marmaray is also the biggest supporter of environmentally friendly and fast transportation by saving time and energy in addition to the economic power that BTK Railway Line has brought to our country in international trade. Before 2013, the passage of cargo from Europe or from Anatolia to Europe was provided by sea, and it was started to be made uninterrupted by the Marmaray line.

“Transports that can be made in 8 days via the North-South Corridor will gradually increase”

Emphasizing that the transportation over the BTK Line and the Middle Corridor will increase even more, Karaismailoglu said:

“In the China-Turkey-Europe track, 15 freight trains passed through Marmaray and completed the track of 11 thousand 483 kilometers in 18 days. Regular block container train transportations started on the China-Turkey-Europe route on this railway line continue. While a total of 19 blocks of trains were operated successfully on the China, Turkey and Europe line, 4 blocks of container trains to China, as well as 2 borax-laden trains from Kutahya (Degirmenozu) were shipped. Borax trains between Turkey and China will be operated on a regular basis.”

Karaismailoglu pointed out that in the coming years, China plans to pass 30% of the annual 5 thousand block trains to Europe via China-Russia (Siberia), which is stated as the “North Line”, via Turkey. He reported that this means that 1500 trains arrive in Europe via Turkey in transit per year.

Minister stated that a new North-South Corridor was created with the Turkey-Russia (Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Russia) rail transport initiated on the BTK Line, allowing the transportation of different destinations and product groups, and that the transportation available from this line in 8 days will gradually increase.

Karaismailoglu stated that they will continue to give importance to the railway sector, “The acceleration in our investments in the railway sector with the goal of making Turkey a logistics base is constantly upward, and the share of railways in transportation investments will reach 60% in 2023.”

Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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