A new railway stretching across the South Caucasus region, linking Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku to the far eastern Turkish city of Kars, is set to open late this month, Caspian news reports.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will reduce the time for goods to reach Europe from the Far East from 25-30 days to just 15 days, contributing to a network that is twice as fast as routes by sea, and half the price of air cargo.
“The BTK will create a basis for elimination of certain barriers for trade among the three hosting countries of the railway project,” Mahir Humbatov of Azerbaijan think tank Center for Strategic Studies told Caspian News. “Second, it will be one of the main drivers behind the production and export increase in the three countries.”
“Third, many local brands may be developed and further internationalized as a result of production and export opportunities created by the BTK and other linked projects.”
Humbatov added that the project has the potential to attract Chinese investment as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“This means that if the Chinese government sees Azerbaijan and surrounding countries attempting to develop their substructure and infrastructure, then China will also invest in the BTK.”