The 4th meeting of the Coordination Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Transit Freight was held on June 5 in a video conference format. The event was attended by Minister of Economy, Chairman of the Coordination Council for Transit Freight – Mikayil Jabbarov, members of the Coordination Council – Chairman of the State Customs Committee – Safar Mehdiyev, Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways – Javid Gurbanov, Chairman of Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping – CJSC Rauf Valiyev, Deputy Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies – Elmir Velizade, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs – Khalaf Khalafov, Deputy Minister of Justice – Togrul Musayev, Chief of the State Border Service Border Control – Abbas Khalilov, Vice President of the State Oil Company – Elshad Nasirov, General Director of Baku International Sea Trade Port CJSC – Taleh Ziyadov, as well as Director of the State Maritime Agency under the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies – Gudrat Gurbanov attended.
Mikayil Jabbarov stressed the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan has taken flexible and necessary preventive decisions to prevent the spread of the pandemic. It was noted that despite the decline in activity in many sectors of the economy during the pandemic, there is a growing trend in the transit and freight sector. Thus, in the first quarter of this year, 2.3 mln. tons of freight were transported, an increase of 12% compared to the same period last year. The volume of transit freight in the non-oil sector has increased more than three times in the last 5 years and reached 3 million tons in 2019. It was noted that over the past five years, freight traffic on the East-West corridor has increased by an average of 100,000 tons per year and reached 500,000 tons. The largest increase in rail transport was observed in the North-West corridor. Transportation on this corridor has increased 7 times in the last 5 years and reached 1.1 million in 2019. tons. Last year, country received 185 mln. USD from transit freight, which 55% falls on non-oil and 45% on oil transportation.
However, Azerbaijan’s transit opportunities are wider. According to research by Ernst & Young, Azerbaijan’s potential transit revenues could increase by 50% over the next four years.
Mikayil Jabbarov stressed that the head of the state set important tasks for the government, such as increasing the competitiveness and efficiency of transit corridors, attracting additional freight flows. Achieving the improvement of the quality of freight transportation, reduction of delivery time and transportation costs are the main factors in the implementation of these tasks. In this regard, strengthening the activities of the Transit Freight Coordination Council, which is responsible for the development of transit freight transportation, preparation of a strategic document for the development of transit logistics, etc. measures should be taken to address the issues respectively.
The Minister of Economy informed about the reforms and measures taken in the field of transit freight transportation. Mikayil Jabbarov proposed to create a legal entity of the United Transit Operator in order to apply the principle of "bir pəncərə" in the transportation of transit freight through the territory of our country. He stressed the importance of forming a single transit tariff through the optimization of tariffs, the effective use of public investment in order to increase the volume of freight. Mikayil Jabbarov also proposed to create an online digital transit platform, a table of upper limits of a single transit tariff.
The current situation in the field of transit freight transportation and issues of increasing efficiency in this direction were discussed at the meeting of the Transit Freight Coordination Council, and the proposals of the meeting participants were heard.