National leader Heydar Aliyev agreed to the entry of our republic into the North-South transport corridor. After his agreement, a number of important work was begun in this direction. Since then, these issues have been discussed in detail at numerous meetings held by the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the leaders of the ministries of transport of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation.
The North-South International Transport Corridor Agreement was signed between the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran and India on September 12, 2000 in St. Petersburg. After undergoing internal procedures in these countries, the Agreement entered into force on May 21, 2002. The agreement covers all types of transport: rail, sea, road, river and air transport and infrastructure.
Forecasts show that if fully exploited, the North-South international transport corridor will allow European countries, Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus regions to reach the Persian Gulf and India, as well as enhance trade relations with the ports of the Caspian Sea. The North-South International Transport Corridor will increase rail traffic between Europe and South Asia and the Middle East, respectively, and increase rail revenues on both the local and transit routes.
Intensive efforts are underway to create an international North-South transport corridor. That is why the cargo is transported along the pass. That is, after the cargo is delivered by sea from the Indian port of Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas, it is transported by train to the existing Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran) -Astara (Azerbaijan) railway line and directly from Azerbaijan to Russia, and then delivered to Europe. In the near future, after the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway, a significant increase in direct rail traffic can be expected. Once the North-South transport corridor is fully operational, more profit will be made.
Studies show that the North-South transport corridor will be of great importance for the European market and will lay the foundation for further political and economic relations between the old continent and Azerbaijan.
The length of the North-South transport corridor is 7200 km. According to preliminary estimates, every 15 tons will save $ 2,500 when shipping the entire line. In fact, both the reduction and the reduction in costs led to an increase in interest in the North-South transport corridor, which ultimately led to an increase in the number of countries participating in the project. The project involves not only Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, but also the countries of Central Asia and the European Union participating in the implementation and implementation of the North-South transport corridor.
The main goal of international transport is to achieve a reduction in time. Exporting and importing countries are interested in the shipment of goods as soon as possible. Compared to traditional lines, the North-South transport corridor means shorter transportation. It should be noted that this project facilitates documentation between participating countries, as well as in electronic form, which ensures the shipment of goods in the shortest possible time.
Countries involved in the transport corridor, including Azerbaijan, have joined the international agreement on international shipping.
The project is also important from the point of view of customs documentation and even if it is required for customs inspection, the goods are subject to customs control in the last country of unloading. It is also beneficial for international freight companies.
By the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated October 21, 2015, the Coordinating Council for Transit Transportation was established. After the reforms in our country, the annual increase in non-oil transportation amounted to 65%. Approximately 85% of the cargo arriving in our country through the international North-South corridor, transit to other countries. As a result, the more goods we bring from our country, the higher our income. On the other hand, this project will increase our export potential and expand our export opportunities, especially in the non-oil sector.
Observations show that the volume of non-oil products exported by our country has doubled thanks to reforms in this area, as well as improved infrastructure in Azerbaijan. Undoubtedly, the development of the non-oil sector is the result of reforms in the country. However, these reforms must be supported by infrastructure and logistics. It was the North-South transport corridor and other projects that were very important in terms of meeting these requirements.
Another important point is that Russia and Turkey are countries to which our country exports most of its non-oil products. However, as a result of these projects, Azerbaijan gained access to new markets. We can conclude that the North-South transport corridor is very important for our country in geopolitical and geoeconomic terms. This project is of particular importance for increasing the strategic importance of Azerbaijan.
As you know, the European Union is Azerbaijan’s largest economic partner. From this point of view, it is possible that in the future we will see elements of a new system of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. At the same time, it should be noted that Russia will also play a very important role in the North-South transport corridor in Iranian-Azerbaijani relations. In the near future, a new reality will be created for the development of relations between the above countries and the countries that will be included in this project.
Energy and transport projects initiated by Azerbaijan will make a great contribution to regional cooperation. Large transport projects such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, the Southern Gas Corridor, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, increase the international prestige of our country and increase its weight in the international arena. The implementation of energy and transport projects as a result of a well-balanced foreign policy pursued by the government of Azerbaijan gives us the opportunity to say that our country will also achieve its goals set in the coming years.
These ideas are contained in the article “International North-South Transport Corridor in the Context of the State of Azerbaijan”, published by the leading researcher of the Department of International Relations and Human Rights of the Institute of Law and Human Rights of ANAS, Shikyar Ibragimov in the newspaper Respublika on October 25, 2019.