The Anonymous Widower

A New Gateway To China: Europe Prepares For The Launch Of Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News. This is the first two paragraphs.

A new rail corridor linking Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia is set to launch in September, establishing a new freight and passenger link between Europe and China.

Every year, millions of tonnes of cargo is expected to be transported on the 825km line.

Baku, which is the Eastern terminus of the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway,  is the capital of Azerbaijan and is a port on the Caspian Sea. It is connected to Turkmenbashi on the other side of the sea, which is the Western terminus of the Trans-Caspian Railway, which leads to Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and China.

At the other end of the line Kars in Turkey is connected to the European rail network.

Freight forecasts for the route in the Global Rail News article are bullish.

According to estimates, by the third year the annual turnover of cargo on BTK will be three to five million tonnes, rising to six to eight million by its fifth year and more than 10 million tonnes in its 10th. By 2034 this figure is anticipated to reach 17 million tonnes of annual freight.

Wikipedia also says this.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is intended to complete a transport corridor linking Azerbaijan to Turkey (and therefore Central Asia and China to Europe) by rail. (In late 2015, a goods train took only 15 days to travel from South Korea to Istanbul via China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia—considerably less time than a journey by sea.)

The sea journey takes between four and six weeks.

This article on the BBC is entitled All aboard the China-to-London freight train. This is an except from the article describing why Tesco use trains to get goods from China to the UK.

The UK’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, doesn’t have any goods on this particular train but does use rail to carry toys, electrical goods, homeware and clothing from China to European rail hubs such as Bratislava in Slovakia and Krasnaje in Belarus.

Alistair Lindsay, Tesco’s head of global logistics, says the supermarket prefers shipping its goods because this is the most environmentally friendly way, as well as offering the best value for money, but that “where we need to move products quicker we have that option to do it by rail”.

This decision would normally be driven by customer demand for particular products, he says.

So it’s all about value-for-money and customer demand.

Conclusion

I am drawn to the conclusion, that the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway will meet the forecasts.

It has the great advantage over some of the other routes, that it avoids Putin’s Russia, which must be a good thing.

 

September 30, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

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