BTK rail line opens intermodal Silk Road route through Turkey

Baku Tbilisi Kars railwayBTK: A train pulling thirty 20-foot containers of wheat has arrived in the Turkish city of Mersin after a 10-day, 5,435km trip that began at Kokshetau in north-east Kazakhstan and continued to the ferry port of Koryuk on the Caspian Sea from where its cargo was shipped to Baku and then passed through Georgia before finishing up in Turkey. Unlike its road alternative, the new route bypasses both Russia and Armenia, and its arrival marks the inaugural freight service along the new $1bn Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway which will be able to transport one million passengers and five million tons of freight a year and represents another link in China’s giant Belt and Road initiative.
BTK inaugurationOn October 30 Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had joined Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and the prime ministers of Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan at a topping out ceremony for the line at Alyat, 70 kilometers southwest of Baku.The EU issued a statement welcoming the new rail link as “a major step in transport interconnections linking the European Union, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Central Asia.”
According to Kazakhstan’s state-owned railway KTZ, the the volume of transit container shipments travelling across Kazakhstan from Europe to China gas has doubled in the last year and increased by 60% going the other way. 

Source: dailysabah