Baku, Azerbaijan (PortSEurope) June 9, 2021 – The Port of Baku has announced the start of construction of a fertiliser terminal at its new facility in Alat, Azerbaijan. It is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2022. The new fertiliser terminal will have the capacity of 2.5 million tonnes annually. The facility will have two warehouses with a total capacity of 60,000 tonnes, and state-of-the-art conveyor systems to
unload the various types of fertilisers directly to warehouses or into wagons/rail hoppers at a newly designed wagon loading station. The port authority plans to lease the terminal operation through a long-term concession and is already in negotiations with potential bidders. The strategic terminal is jointly financed by the Government of Azerbaijan and the Port of Baku. The investment decision resulted from a feasibility study revealing a significant potential for transshipment of fertilisers from landlocked Central Asian countries to western markets via Azerbaijan. Three resource-rich states of Central Asia – Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – have production capacity for various fertilisers, including urea, sulfur (sulphur) and potassium carbonate that exceeds 6.6 million tonnes annually. All three countries have invested heavily in constructing fertiliser production facilities to increase export volumes. A recently inaugurated Garabogaz fertiliser Plant, on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan, can alone produce 1.2 million tonnes of urea per year, of which more than 90% is expected to be exported. “The volume of Central Asian – primarily Turkmen – fertilisers transshipped via the Port of Baku has increased more than 13-fold between 2018 and 2020, from 48,339 to 630,000 tonnes,” said Taleh Ziyadov, General Director of the Port of Baku. “The trend is accelerating. In the first five months of 2021, we handled more than 450,000 tonnes of fertilisers, signifying the reliability of the transit corridor via Azerbaijan. A new terminal will ensure reliability in Central Asia’s fertiliser supply chain and allow us to increase volume from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,” he added. Azerbaijan as a transport hub The Baku International Sea Trade Port CJSC fertiliser terminal will increase the role of Azerbaijan as a strategic transit country for Central Asian states. It will also boost Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s diversification strategy for turning Azerbaijan into a trade and logistics hub of Eurasia. With the completion of new port in Alat, with an annual throughput capacity of 15 million tonnes, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connecting European and Asian rail networks, and key infrastructure projects linking the country’s transport networks along the East-West and North-South axes, Azerbaijan aims to become the top choice for foreign logistics companies and investors intending to expand their business at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. TRACECA In Q1, 2021, Azerbaijan transported 10.1 million tonnes of cargo along the transport corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA), a decrease of 18.8% compared to the same period of 2020. According to data from the State Customs Committee, 5.6 million tonnes (55.4%) of the cargo transportation was by automobiles, 3.3 million tonnes (32.9%) by rail and 1.1 million tons (11.7%) by sea. Transit cargo accounted for 2.3 million tons or 23.5%. In 2020, TRACECA transported 35.5 million tons of cargo through Azerbaijan, including 7.5 million tonnes (21.2%) of transit cargo. TRACECA is an internationally recognized programme aimed at strengthening of economic relations, trade and transport communication in the regions of the Black Sea basin, South Caucasus and Central Asia owing to active work based on political will and common aspirations of all member-states. In 1998, 12 TRACECA countries signed the “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-the Caucasus-Asia Corridor” (MLA) with the aim of implementing in full of their geopolitical and economic potentials. In 2009, Iran joined TRACECA. Today, the TRACECA route comprises the transport system of the 13 member-states of the “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Europe-the Caucasus-Asia Corridor” (MLA TRACECA): Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Port of Baku Azerbaijan is also building up its own transport potential, since the turnover from trade at the Port of Baku in the Caspian Sea, the first “Green Port” among 26 ports in Europe to receive such status, increased 20% in 2020. The Port of Baku accommodated most of 2020’s surge, along with transcontinental transport and trade across Eurasia. The throughput of large vehicles (TIRs) and containers in that year was a 30-year record. In 2020 the number of trucks processed by the port increased by 28%, container exports by 15% and the volume of cargo transported through the dry cargo terminal by 280%. Compared to the last five years, there has been a five-fold increase in truck cargo, three times as many containers, and an increase of three and a half times the volume of cargo handled at the dry cargo terminal in the Port of Baku. Azerbaijan also plans to build a grain terminal, taking into account the large grain exports from Kazakhstan. A new geography of transcontinental transport and trade is in the making across Eurasia, as, in 2020, the “EU-China Express” freight trains reached a landmark transit of the equivalent of half a million TEU containers, an increase of 65% over 2019. By taking advantage of new opportunities, once it has opened communications within the region, it would be possible to reach both the Persian Gulf and Russia through Azerbaijan. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (new Silk Road) and Turkey’s Middle Corridor project are being complemented by Azerbaijan’s efforts to increase its transit transport facilities. The Port of Baku total cargo handled in 2020 was 4.85 million tonnes, compared to 4.057 million tonnes in 2019, an increase of around 20%. This was achieved despite the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis. Elmar Habibli, Head of the Press Service of the Port of Baku, said that the port is operating normally and that cargo handling statistics in 2021 are forecast to exceed the 2020 figure. The port has a terminal with the capacity to handle 100,000 TEU containers per year. Last year, 40.345 million TEU containers were handled at the port’s terminal, an increase of 15% compared to the previous year figures. Through two Ro-Ro bridges, 43.2 million TIR passed through the port last year, which is 28% more than in 2019. 65% of these TIR-s were transported in the direction of Baku-Turkmenistan-Baku, and 35% – in the direction of Baku-Astana-Baku. The Port of Baku transferred 711,706 thousand tonnes of dry cargo last year, which is 2.8 times more than in 2019, and 3.5 times more than in 2015. 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