On October 30, a solemn ceremony took place at the Baku International Commercial Seaport on the occasion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway’s inauguration.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Turkish Republic Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his spouse Emine Erdoğan, Prime-minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bakitjan Sagintayev, Georgian Prime-minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime-minister of the Uzbek Republic Abdulla Aripov, as well as delegations from the republics of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan attended the inauguration ceremony.
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the opening ceremony.
Then, Prime-minister of Kazakhstan Bakitjan Sagintayev, Georgian Prime-minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Prime-minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov took the floor.
A congratulation letter from Turkish Prime-minister Binali Yildirim was read.
Thereafter, Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdoğan addressed the ceremony.
After the speeches, a video material associated with the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was demonstrated.
Then heads of states and governments drove the wedges of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and put the rail switching installation into operation.
Hereby, the first freight train moving by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway departed.
Heads of states and governments unveiled the memorial stone and got photographed together.
At the end, heads of states and governments set off on a train from the Alat Port, where the opening ceremony took place, by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to arrive at the Alat railway station.
A new revolutionary project for the Eurasian zone, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a restoration of the old Silk Way on steel main railway.
The contract on the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was signed in 2007 in Tbilisi. In November of the same year, foundation of the railway was laid in Marabda station of Georgia. In July 2008, a ceremony of laying the foundation of the construction of the Kars-Georgia border section was laid in Kars city. With total stretch of 846 kilometres, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway’s 504 km-section is on the territory of Azerbaijan, with 263 km of the railway passing through Georgia, 79 km–section being on the Turkish territory.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will facilitate access by the Central Asian countries – Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as Afghanistan, to European and world markets. In future, attraction of goods belonging to European and Asian countries to this railway will increase the volume of multimodal transportations in both directions. So, it is expected that 3 to 5 million tons of goods in the third year of operation, 6 to 8 million tons of goods in the fifth year of operation, and, thereafter, 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of goods will be transported on this railway each year.