Azerbaijan's maritime capabilities in transcontinental cargo transportation
    Largest merchant fleet on Caspian Sea / Infographic

    MULTIMEDIA  26 May 2023 - 12:22

    Mushvig Mehdiyev

    The geographical location of Azerbaijan at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, as well as the global trade and transport routes, such as East-West and North-South International Transport Corridors, has been the main driving force for the country to create an exemplary multi-modal transport infrastructure.

    Azerbaijan has been pivotal in facilitating intercontinental transport communications thanks to its cutting-edge railway, highway, air, and maritime capabilities. Today, the country owns the largest trade fleet and trade port on the Caspian Sea shores.

    “The transport and logistical infrastructure of our country enables transportation in any direction. Azerbaijan with more than 50 ships has the largest trade fleet in the Caspian. The seaport of Alat, designed to transport 15 million tons of cargo, will be modernized in the near future and its cargo handling capacity will reach 25 million tons. This is particularly important given the fact that a large increase in cargo transportation through Azerbaijan has been observed recently,” President Ilham Aliyev said on May 25 at an expanded meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow.

    Azerbaijan achieved the formation of the region’s largest maritime trade fleet primarily thanks to national capabilities. A top-notch shipbuilding yard in Baku has been rolling out multiple types of ships, vessels, and tanker vessels. The Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ASCO) is the main operator of the shipyards and maritime fleets of Azerbaijan.

    Baku Shipyard

    The merchant fleet of ASCO includes 54 vessels: 20 tankers, 13 ferries, 15 universal dry-cargo, 2 Ro-Ro ships, and 2 Ro-Pax ships as well as 1 auxiliary vessel and 1 floating workshop. The offshore support fleet is comprised of 210 vessels: 20 crane vessels, 25 supply, and tug vessels, 26 passenger ships, 2 pipelay barges, 6 firefighting vessels, 7 geological survey vessels, 2 diving support vessels, and 88 other support vessels.

    ASCO leads national efforts to assume a vital role in expediting the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) by providing marine transportation of goods and passengers along with the Trans-Caspian Sea maritime corridor, which includes also the Trans-Caspian International Sea Trade Route.

    Baku International Sea Trade Port

    TITR runs from the Chinese Lianyungang seaport to the Chinese-Kazakh border, further through Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to Ukraine and Poland. Goods are transported by railway to the Kazakh seaports of Aktau and Kuryk and further sent to the Port of Baku, also known as the Baku International Sea Trade Port, in Azerbaijan by ships via the Caspian Sea. In Azerbaijan, containers are transported along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. The route further splits up into two with both leading to Europe — one of them passes through the Turkish cities of Mersin and Istanbul and the Mediterranean Sea, while the other one stretches to the Ukrainian city of Chernomorsk via the Black Sea.

    The Baku International Sea Trade Port is considered one of the region’s most advanced hubs of its kind with a cutting-edge technical and technological environment and all-inclusive infrastructure opportunities for logistics companies and port users. The largest maritime port in the Caspian Sea has a throughput capacity of up to 15 million tons of cargo, including 100,000 twenty-equivalent units (TEU). The port will ultimately be able to handle 25 million tons of cargo, including 500,000 TEU.

    Baku International Sea Trade Port

    Amid the growing demand for routes passing through Azerbaijan, the Baku International Sea Trade Port is currently working to implement a number of projects to increase the transhipment of all types of cargo. As part of the work to expand the throughput of the Baku Port, the government of Azerbaijan also plan to put into operation a TIR park, as well as build terminals for the transhipment of bulk cargo and mineral fertilizers.

    The volume of cargo transported by sea transport in Azerbaijan in 2022 surpassed seven million tonnes, which was 42.4% more than in 2021. Some 43 per cent of the transported goods were oil cargoes.

    Loading and unloading operations at the Port of Baku amounted to around 11,000 tonnes of cargo in the reporting period, of which 9,908 tonnes or 92.5 per cent were transit cargoes.

    In the meantime, the cutting-edge port also served passenger transportation, which grew by 24 per cent from 2021 to stand at nearly 20,000 people in 2022.

    Currently, Azerbaijan is pressing ahead with the top-level modernisation of the national maritime transportation capabilities given the growing interest and demand in the services provided by the East-West and North-South International Transport Corridors.


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