Georgia-Azerbaijan cargo train route reopens

The train will operate regularly on Tuesdays and Saturdays and reach the destination within 34 hours., 17 Jul 2014 - 12:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

A multiple day journey to transport goods between Georgia and Azerbaijan has been slashed to 34 hours thanks to a new cargo train operating between the two countries.

On July 15 a container train resumed operating along the Poti-Baku route. The 30-40 wagon train will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays and will allow containers and goods to be moved between destinations within 34 hours.

Levan Jgarkava of Trans Caucasus Terminals LLC, which is the daughter company of Georgian Railway, said the company initially expected revenue from the new service to amount to $12 million USD.

The new train service, named Silk Bridge, will also reduce the amount of container cargo being transported along main highways.

"The train will operate regularly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Until now, this cargo has been [transported] by cars and took three or four days," he said.

Director General of Georgian Railways Mamuka Bakhtadze said the project was only in the beginning stage and in the near future, China and Kazakhstan would be involved.

"Initially the block train will operate on the Poti-Baku route. In the coming months, the Azerbaijani side will complete the construction of a new port on the Caspian Sea, and after completion of construction, we will be able to start the second phase, namely the Poti-Baku-Almaty route, in which China will join subsequently," he said.

A special ceremony to mark the opening of the cargo train route was attended by Deputy Minister of Economy Natia Mikeladze and representatives of Georgian and Azerbaijanian railways.

The block train shipping will be operated by a German company. The train will transport containers on the basis of a mutual agreement between Azerbaijan Railways and Trans Caucasus Terminals.

A container train has functioned on the Poti-Baku route since 1996 however this was later suspended.