28 Jan 2015 - 17:39
The first test train is set to begin operating on the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project later today.
The pilot train will operate on one of the sections of the BTK railway project, between two southern Georgian towns of Akhalkalaki and Kartsakhi.
This topic was high on the agenda of today's meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Azerbaijan's Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov. The sides spoke about cooperation between the two countries in the transport field and stressed the importance of the BTK project.
When complete the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad would link Azerbaijan with Turkey via Georgia. Its construction has been made possible thanks to an intergovernmental agreement between the three countries.
The railway will increase the flow of containers and other types of cargo from Asia to Europe. Experts estimated that its overall capacity will peak at 17 million tonnes of cargo per year. Initially, the capacity will reach 6.5 million tonnes of cargo and one million passengers.
The project aimed to improve trade and economic relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, as well as to attract foreign direct investment through connecting Europe and Asia. The railway is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015.
The Azerbaijani Transport Minister is expected to attend a ceremony later today with Georgia's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kvirikashvili to launch the test train along the BTK railway in Kartsakhi.