Azerbaijan’s Port of Baku is keen on exploiting the full potential of its strategic location to become a freight-forwarding hub and is undertaking activities to show off that potential to US investors.
On December 10, 2015, U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC), based in Washington, D.C., hosted a breakfast briefing on Transcaspian East-West Trade & Transit Corridor to explain the role of Baku International Sea Trade Port.
General Director of Baku International Sea Trade Port, Taleh Ziyadov, stressed the growing importance of Azerbaijan as a transit country in the light of geopolitical and economic events of the past couple of years.
The efforts are being taken under the framework of increasing the awareness of Port of Baku’s importance as a strategic transit and economic hub for USA stakeholders, both public and private entities. The implementation of this project aims to allow US companies to streamline their operations in East-West as well as West-East directions on China-Central Asia-Europe axis.
US investors are interested in Baku, as majority of large US companies have moved the significant part of their manufacturing facilities to China in the last decade establishing it as a major manufacturing powerhouse.
This also means that they are eager to cut their overall cargo forwarding costs by exploring alternative routes including Eurasian based railway and road networks.
Moreover, US companies need proximity to consumption markets in Central Asia which is especially true for heavy equipment and consumer goods companies.
Port of Baku in Alyat operates several terminals including railway- ferry, RoRo, container and bulk goods.
The launch of operations at railway ferry terminal has allowed increase in number of railway freight traffic between Central Asian markets and their suppliers from Turkey, Europe and Middle East. Several container block trains on China-Europe and China-Turkey routes have already used Port of Baku at Alyat as a passing point.
In addition, a RoRo terminal is planned to be launched by the end of 2016 expanding the potential for Turkish and European truck freights to shorten the distance, thus slashing the costs of transportation. This will allow Azerbaijan to become more attractive route vs. Iran and Russian alternatives allowing significantly increase its market share in transit truck market.