Turkey's Transport, Maritime and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan has said that the long-anticipated Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, which has prospects of to double Turkey's railroad transportation capacity, will be completed within two months. Talking to reporters regarding the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project in Ankara on Saturday, Arslan said that despite the heavy winter conditions, they have continued to move forward with construction efforts and will finish the project within two months. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project will span a total of 838.6 kilometers, connecting the Turkish province of Kars with the Azeri capital, Baku and the Georgian capital, Tbilisi in Central Asia.
Arslan said the route will became an important part of the middle corridor in "China's One Belt, One Road project." He said the project was likely to double Turkey's capacity in railroad transportation. "It will take from 45 to 62 days to transport goods from China to Europe via the north corridor of the ‘One Belt, One Road project.' However, this may be reduced to just 15 days when using the middle corridor," he said. The Transport Minister added, "All the other countries on this route, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan will continue to make investments in infrastructure accordingly." He added that Turkey's rail transportation capacity was expected to double when the middle corridor becomes fully operational.
"We are currently transporting 26.5 million tons of cargo on railways. Only Kazakhstan is planning to divert an additional 10 million tons of cargo to this route. Moreover, if we get only 10 percent of all Chinese transportation to Europe, we will get an additional 24 million tons," he said. This rail line is designed to become a key part of the southern route of the emerging New Silk Road network of trade and transport corridors that are being constructed to connect China and Europe.