First China-Turkey cargo train transits via Georgia

The new route meant a train could travel between China and Georgia in nine days. Photo from Georgian Railways/Facebook, 16 Oct 2015 - 18:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

The first cargo train travelling on a new transit route from China to Turkey, via Georgia, has departed for its maiden voyage and is expected to arrive at its destination in the coming days.

Speaking at the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum today, Georgian Railways director general Mamuka Bakhtadze revealed Turkey was preparing to welcome the first cargo train that had travelled from China and passed through Georgia on the new railway route. The train was expected to arrive in Turkey by the end of October.

He said a cargo train from China could arrive in Georgia after nine days, which was a "good alternative to the 25 days of transportation via motorway”.

Bakhtadze said Georgia had "plans” for Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and could utilize the opportunity to pass about 300,000 containers through the same corridor.

Today trade turnover between Turkey and China was $22 billion USD and it was forecast to reach $100 billion USD in the near future. Bakhtadze believed a new transit corridor was needed between the two countries so they could better prepare for increased trade turnover.

Georgia celebrated the arrival of the first cargo train from China back in February.

The train departed China in late January and travelled on the new railway track to Georgia as part of the joint project between Worldwide Energy Logistics Ltd (WELL) and Kedentranservice.

The new route allowed cargo to be more easily transported between China and Georgia. Once fully operational the project will contribute an additional inflow of $100-120 million USD to the Georgian economy, announced Georgian Railway officials at the time.