On May 14, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the opening of the Baku International Sea Trade Port Complex in Alat settlement of Garadagh district of Baku.
According to AZERTAG, Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev informed President Ilham Aliyev about the work done here. It was noted that this port had been designed and constructed in accordance with the technical specifications for the first category ports.
State policy and global initiatives carried out by President Ilham Aliyev in bringing the transport infrastructure up to modern world standards, increasing the transit potential of our country make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of Azerbaijan. In recent years, important work is being done to modernize the transport infrastructure, which will play an important role in the development of the economy, especially the non-oil sector, to expand transit opportunities, create a modern transport infrastructure and increase transit potential. All this brings great political and economic dividends to Azerbaijan, strengthens our country's position in the world and in the region, and increases the political and strategic importance of our state. From this point of view, the Baku International Sea Trade Port Complex, located at the junction of East-West and North-South transport corridors, which is part of the strategy of transformation of Azerbaijan into the region's important transport and logistics center, has a crucial role in expanding transit capacities of the country.
Territory was not randomly selected for the construction of this port. Thus, Alat settlement is located at the intersection of roads and railways passing through the territory of the republic. After adding waterways here, there is also a ground for the transformation of this area into an international transport junction with large potential export capacities. Thus, having an important geostrategic position in Eurasia, multilateral economic and trade relations, Azerbaijan is entering a new, modern phase of the development of maritime transport.
The construction of the new Baku International Sea Trade Port Complex was initiated by President Ilham Aliyev in 2007. The foundation of the new port complex was laid in November 2010 with the participation of the head of state. In September 2014, one of the harbor facilities - a ferry terminal consisting of two bridges, and the Ro-Ro terminal, consisting of two bridges were commissioned in January of this year. The port covers an area of 117 hectares and has 12 berth bridges. Freight capacity of the port is 15 million tons per year, including 100 thousand containers. The total length of the bridges is about 2100 meters. The length of the iron-concrete bridge, which is one of the most recent engineering innovations of the modern era, is 1777 meters. There are two bridges for Ro-Ro ships in the port, a universal land cargo and container terminal consisting of seven bridges, two ferry bridges and a bridge for service fleet ships. The second Ro-Ro bridge and ferry bridges are fitted with a hydraulically-operated suspension pandus that ensures safe berth of the ships, regardless of the level of water fluctuation. The length of the bridge for fleet ships in the port is 155 meters, and at the same time 11 boats can berth. There are a total of 2502 stilts with different diameters, with a length of 45 kilometers and an average depth of 26 meters. The surface infrastructure of the port is built on these stilts. A defensive wall with a 1077-meter-long special structure was built to prevent the wash of west coastline.
Dredging works were carried out at the port’s water area, the entrance canal with the length of 7.5 km, with 450 meters diameter of the turning circle was constructed. This canal and turning aquatory enables safe and free berth of all kind of ships in the Caspian Sea. At present, a 7-8 thousand tons deadweight ship enters the port and the existing depth is enough for this. During the project, the possibility of increasing the depth of the port aquatory has been taken into consideration, which will also ensure berth of larger ships in the future.
6 new portal cranes with capacity of 80, 40 and 32 tons produced in Germany were installed in the complex to increase the efficiency of loading and unloading operations Within the framework of the project, the port's operational building, cargo areas and warehouses, border and customs service points, 72 different buildings and facilities have been built, and the design of the international terminal for passengers is continued. Indoor and outdoor warehouses were built here. At the same time, a special infrastructure has been set up to accommodate 1,040 containers and to serve 64 refrigerated containers.
The Head of State pressed the button launching the Baku International Sea Trade Port Complex.
The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev toured the territory of the complex.
According to the Order of President Ilham Aliyev dated April 13, 2017 "On additional measures to accelerate the construction of the New Baku International Sea Trade Port Complex", the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been appointed as the customer of the project for the continuation and completion of the project. In this regard, an Action Plan for the timely and qualitative execution of the duties put forward by the Head of State, indicating the beginning and completion dates for the work has been prepared. In order to achieve the targets set out in this plan, a double-shift working mode was applied in the construction of segments. As a result of the steps taken, the dynamics of the work has been increased by 5 times compared with the previous periods. Nearly 1,500 workforce and about 300 different types of machinery were involved in the construction process.
General Plan and general project of the new port complex has been developed by the Dutch company Royal Haskoning, winner of the international open tender. Construction work was carried out in two parts of the port area - land and sea segments. Construction works were carried out by the local company - Evrascon OJSC.
Here, the Port Management and Information System and other IT components have been applied to ensure efficiency of the operations, as well as a protection system in accordance with the requirements of the International Code for the Protection of Ships and Port Vehicles, modern cameras have been installed, 1 import and 2 export zones for the purpose of separation of border and customs control zones were established.
For the fast and efficient loading and unloading of cargo, the Port Operating Information System determines the loading and unloading time of all the cargo arriving in the area through the container, the land cargoes transported by the truck, and the processes are carried out according to that schedule. This operating system, working over the Internet, immediately informs the cargo owner that the cargo is delivered to the port of Baku and left the port. The most up-to-date modern technological and engineering solutions transformed the complex into the most up-to-date and convenient transportation hub in the region, increasing its transit and shipping capabilities as an important transportation hub.
According to the requirements of the Green Port concept, the highest ecological requirements were taken into account during the construction of the complex and 3 different installations were constructed for wastewater treatment. The port is powered by two sources, including the Alat Electric substation and the Sangachal module power plant. Total power of the project is 18 megawatts. In addition, two diesel generating stations have been installed to ensure the port's uninterrupted power supply. In order to provide drinking water supply, a water reservoir was built in the area.
In accordance with the growth dynamics of cargo flows to the country, the head of state has informed on the potential of expansion of the Baku International Sea Trade Port, the measures envisaged for the expansion of the port in accordance with the varieties and intensities of the load flows in this context and the additional opportunities that will arise if the volume of cargo increases.
Azerbaijan's location on the North-South and East-West international transport corridors provides efficient, fast and secure ferry crossings from the Caspian Sea by creating a rich transit potential for the new port, allowing the country to accomplish its strategic transport junctions in the transportation of transit and outbound cargoes. This complex will serve as a direct freight accumulator point for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Thus, the ground for an efficient and sustainable logistics chain that will accumulate cargoes from North, South, East and West corridors and that will transport cargo through Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Europe or through the ships in East direction will be formed. Creation of a free economic zone in the surrounding areas, including the territory of the new port will provide the port with a broader transit and transport capacity as an important transportation hub.
Having familiarized himself with the complex, the head of state met with the representatives of the port personnel and representatives of construction companies.
The President of Azerbaijan made a speech at the meeting.
Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of Baku International
Sea Trade Port Complex
- It is a very significant day in the life of our country today. The Baku International trade Seaport is being put into operation. I sincerely congratulate you and all the Azerbaijani people on this remarkable occasion. I am sure that the new Baku Port will play an important part in enhancing the transport potential of our country.
I made the decision on the construction of this port several years ago. I knew and saw that Azerbaijan would have a huge transport and transit potential and that our country would develop fast. The adoption of such a decision showed the foresight and thoughtfulness of our policy again.
Construction work began. We divided it into stages. A ferry terminal was commissioned in 2014, a Ro-Ro terminal at the beginning of this year, so the port is fully ready for operation. The port, with a cargo handling capacity of 15 million tons, including a container handling capacity of 100,000 containers, will certainly play an important part in strengthening our transport infrastructure. The next stage is expected to increase the cargo handling capacity to 25 million tons. Places for that are already available. Today's presentation also outlined plans related to the expansion of the port. The number of containers is expected to reach 500,000 per year.
Local and foreign specialists and workers took part in the construction of the port. I want to express my gratitude for the work done. I personally supervised the work related to the construction of the port. I am glad that the highest standards are applied here. All the equipment, the necessary technical facilities and the most modern cranes have been purchased and installed here. We have thus created a powerful transport and logistical center in Azerbaijan.
The choice of Alat is not accidental either because the existing Baku seaport no longer meets our needs. It is located in the center of the city and its capacity to receive growing volumes of cargo is very limited. Alat is a very favorable place geographically. The routes originating from here both in the western and southern directions, including automobile roads and railways, have, of course, played a major role in the choice of this place. Of course, the development of Alat will also largely be associated with the logistical and transport infrastructure being created here. If we add to this the fact that we will start the creation of the Alat Free Economic Zone in the near future, it would be perfectly legitimate to say that this territory of the city of Baku will develop rapidly and numerous jobs will be created here. Therefore, Alat will certainly secure an important place in the development of the economic and transport potential of our country.
The commissioning of the Baku International Trade Seaport suggests that we have completed all the tasks related to the creation of transport infrastructure. A lot of work has been done in this direction to date. We have the largest fleet in the Caspian Sea – more than 260 vessels. According to the information provided to me, an additional 18 ships have been purchased over the past few years. A shipyard has been built in Baku on my initiative. We can produce and are producing all types of vessels and have therefore eliminated the dependence on foreign partners.
Over the last 15 years, a total of 15,000 kilometers of highways have been built in our country. Roads leading to our borders with all the neighboring states, intercity and rural roads have been put into operation. In other words, this infrastructure has also been created. Over these years, seven airports have been built, including six international ones. Azerbaijan possesses the most modern aircraft fleet. Recently, Heydar Aliyev International Airport has recently received a five-star status. I want to inform you that there are only nine airports possessing a five-star status in the world, one of which is Heydar Aliyev airport.
We are modernizing our railway infrastructure, upgrading the existing railways and building new tracks to increase the speed. Locomotives and wagons are being purchased. It was on this territory that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was commissioned in October last year. It was a historic project. Azerbaijan, the initiator of this project, allocated major funds for its implementation. We have linked Baku with Europe by railway. In fact, Azerbaijan has linked Asia with Europe. This transport corridor will bring us large profits for many years. It will bring huge benefits to our people. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a historic project. As a result of the successful implementation of this project, Azerbaijan will further strengthen its position in the region.
We are currently creating the North-South transport corridor and have already completed all the necessary work on our territory. Thus, the roads leading from north to south and from east to west are passing and will pass through Azerbaijan. We have allocated additional funds for the completion of the North-South transport corridor. I am sure that this railway will be put into operation in the next few years. Thus, Azerbaijan, a country that does not have access to the world ocean, will become a transport and logistical center in Eurasia. We already see this and are performing this function.
Our work could be considered complete. But we must look and are looking to the future. We are currently working on launching the South-West transport corridor. This is also a very important transport corridor. I am told that the first test train has already passed along this way. Thus, by creating major transport infrastructure, we are multiplying the geopolitical and geo-economic significance of Azerbaijan. At the same time, these projects are expanding and strengthening international cooperation. If we look at the number and strength of the countries involved in the East-West and North-South transport corridors, we can see that this is a large-scale format of international cooperation indeed. The East-West transport corridor links China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and further European countries. The North-South transport corridor connects Pakistan, India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, and countries of Northern Europe. The South-West corridor links countries in an even wider format. Azerbaijan is a country involved in all these projects. We have invested great effort in implementing these projects. Important political steps have been taken. In other words, we have consistently focused on these projects. Finally, we are seeing the result.
I want to say again that the implementation of these projects will bring us not only economic benefits, although we will certainly improve our economic situation further by making the most efficient use of our transport potential. These projects significantly increase the geopolitical importance of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan will continue its activities as an irreplaceable country for regional cooperation in Eurasia. We are already treated with great respect and sympathy in the world. Azerbaijan is recognized as a very reliable partner and capable country. Our growing economic power allows us the opportunity to carry out such historic projects. The construction of the Baku International trade Seaport is one of the important projects funded from the state budget of Azerbaijan, and this day will go down in our history as an important and memorable day.
I want to salute everyone who took part in the construction of the port again and express my gratitude to you. I wish you continued success in your future activities. I congratulate you and all the Azerbaijani people on this remarkable event again. Thank you.