Finland launches first freight train from China via Azerbaijan

May 11, 2022 2:37 p.m. (UTC+04:00)

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By Ayya Lmahamad

On May 10, Finland’s largest freight operator Nurminen Logistics announced the launch of the first container route from China bypassing Russia.

“Nurminen Logistics’ first full-size container train departed today, May 10, 2022, from Chongqing, China on the new southern Trans-Caspian route,” the company said.

The route starts in China and passes through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania to Central Europe. The company built the route in two months from scratch in cooperation with Kazakh Railways. It should be noted that earlier, on March 17, the company temporarily closed its office in Russia.

“The new road is in high demand. The next train, which will leave on May 25, is already almost full, with only a few seats left. Weekly departures are expected to begin in June,” the company said.

As a reminder, Nurminen Logistics earlier announced its intention to develop the Trans-Caspian international transport route and on March 16 signed a commercial use agreement with the Kazakh State Railways.

The question of logistics today is not only an economic question but even more geopolitical. Against the background of recent world events, the Trans-Caspian route, which combines rail and sea transport, perfectly meets the needs of modern transport chains.

Nowadays, transport routes through the South Caucasus are becoming more and more popular as more and more countries look for ways to bypass Russia. In this context, the role of Azerbaijan as a regional transport hub is irreplaceable, as different transport routes, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, the North-South corridor, the Trans-Caspian international transport route and the new silk road, pass through Azerbaijan.

On April 13, China also launched a rail route to Germany, allowing trains to bypass Russia. The route crosses the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea by rail and sea, passing through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

In addition, it was reported earlier that the representative office of the German company Hellmann Worldwide Logistics in Azerbaijan, together with its partners, is launching a block train from China to Europe in transit through Azerbaijan. The unit train will depart from the Chinese city of Suzhou to the border of Kazakhstan by rail, then be loaded and shipped from the port of Aktau to the port of Baku. It should be noted that the block train will deliver goods not only for transit to Europe, but also for the domestic market of Azerbaijan.

It has already been noted that Azerbaijan’s transit along the route of the New Silk Road is becoming increasingly popular, and the importance of the North-South Corridor for Russia is difficult to overestimate now, especially in light of the sanctions.

Occupying a strategic central position between Europe and China and having developed aviation, rail, pipeline and maritime infrastructure, Azerbaijan is becoming a new leading logistics center in the reorganization of global supply chains in Eurasia.

It should be noted that the Trans-Caspian Transport Route is a vital Trans-Eurasian corridor that crosses the South Caucasus. The route begins in Southeast Asia and China and travels to Europe via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. It is one of the new routes of the Silk Road, the Middle Corridor of the “One Belt, One Road” project. During the crisis, this transport corridor proved to be the most profitable, the safest, the most reliable and the most stable. As a result, this corridor, which crosses Azerbaijan, attracts the attention of an increasing number of exporters and importers.

Considering the situation, Azerbaijan has the potential to become one of the transport and logistics hubs through which goods traffic will pass.

Ayya ​​Lmahamad is the journalist of AzerNews, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad

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