"Kazakhstan, located in the heart of Eurasia, is actively working to develop transcontinental transportation between Europe and Asia".
The first train departed from Baku following an inauguration attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, speaking at the ceremony on official launch of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, said that this railway line is a historical project of strategic significance.
THE leaders of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia launched an 826-km rail link connecting the three countries yesterday, establishing a freight and passenger link between Europe and China that bypasses Russian Federation.
The new link will reduce journey times between China and Europe to around 15 days, which is more than twice as fast as the sea route at less than half the price of flying.
"Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is part of the Great Silk Road and it is important that we have implemented this project using our own funds", he added, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The opening of the 826-km Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line marks the conclusion of a 10-year project to open a rail corridor carrying cargo and passengers between the two continents.
Commercial operations on the corridor are expected to begin before the end of this year and annual volumes of around 6.5 million tonnes are forecast for the initial phase of operation. The participating guests witnessed the first trains decorated with the flags of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan departing from the railway station. Azerbaijan and other countries on the route will have to offer lower tariffs and simplified customs procedures to win business and avoid delays, he said. Today, a new Eurasian bridge is being put into operation.
"When this railway is operational, Turkey will play a major role in connecting London to Beijing, through new highways and railways". The link "will create completely new possibilities not only in our region but beyond".