“Viking” development plans in Azerbaijan

Date

2015 11 10

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vikingas.jpg

Azerbaijan railways are considering joining the project “Viking”. These plans are expected to be discussed at the annual meeting between the participants of the project “Viking” to be held on 11-12 November in Tbilisi, Georgia.

“Azerbaijan railways’ accession to this project will enable the development of container train route to more distant Asian countries, as well as reach Kazakhstan and China by an alternative way” said Saulius Girdauskas, Vice-Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania.

At the end of September, the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania sent to the Ministry of Transport of Azerbaijan Republic an official invitation to accede to the project “Viking”. It is expected that with the accession of Azerbaijan railways, more cargo from Kazakhstan and China will be transported in Lithuania. In addition, new railroad line Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will be used for the transportation of containers coming from the ports of Turkey and Ukraine.

The project “Viking” operates already 12 years. During that time, it become a well-known and successful project, whereas the volumes transported by this train increased by hundred times i.e. from 103 TEU in 2003 to 29,752 TEU in 2014.

In December 2012, Bulgarian railways joined “Viking”, a project which was launched by Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine in 2003. In February 2013, the Memorandum of Cooperation was signed also with the Romanian railways.

In 13 April 2013, the representatives of the Ministries of Transport of Turkey and Lithuania signed the Memorandum of Understanding and confirmed their commitment to develop the project “Viking” in Turkish road-sea routes. The first pilot “Viking” train from Turkey was launched in summer 2014.

Another country, Georgia, joined the project in 2015. Currently, pilot train journeys from Sweden and Finland are being organized.