The Presidents of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili launched inaugural freight train on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway corridor on October 30, 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Prime Ministers of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, Minister of Railway transport of Turkmenistan Bashimov Daryaguly and Minister of Transport of Tajikistan Khudoyorzoda Khudoyor Zavqibek attended the ceremony.
Addressing the audience President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev called Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway a historic, strategic project, an important part of the Eurasian transport map, the shortest and most reliable route connecting Europe with Asia. The President indicated that the railway was of great importance for people-to-people interaction business development and mutually beneficial cooperation. The President evaluated BTK as a part of restored historic Silk Road, drew attention to the importance of its interaction with North-South Transport Corridor.
Experts stressed strategic importance of BTK amid China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
BTK starts from the Port of Baku (Azerbaijan) to Tbilisi (Georgia) then to Kars (Turkey 850km), after which reaches Mersin International Port in Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea
Existing International transport routes take 40-45 days, BTK requires 15 days to connect Asia to Europe or vice versa.
BTK initial capacity is 6.5 million tonnes of freight and million passengers per year to be increased to 17 million tonnes and 3 million passengers per year in 2034.