China Railway Express, the first freight train that will depart from China and pass to Europe by using Marmaray, was seen off at a ceremony attended by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Mehmet Cahit Turhan and Minister of Commerce Ruhsar Pekcan from the Ankara Terminal.
Turhan, speaking at the ceremony, pointed to Turkey’s geostrategic and geopolitical importance, linking three continents. Turhan expressed that Turkey, as a country of Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea with both its geographic location and historical and cultural continuity, had an important role in the economic and social development of the regions in question.
“We have facilitated uninterrupted and high-quality transport infrastructure across the continents”
Turhan who explained that they provided a wide variety of transport connections in recent years in order to further strengthen the existing position of Turkey as well as facilitating corridors, uninterrupted and high-quality transport infrastructure across the continents, said, “Strengthening our transportation and communication infrastructure with an investment of 754 billion dollars was among our priorities of completing the missing connections on international transportation routes.”
Aiming to create a large infrastructure and transportation network by connecting China, Asia, Europe and the Middle East to each other, “One Belt One Road” project is paid special attention, explained Turhan and said that in this context, China Railway Express, which made its first trip on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Line, which was realized on the basis of the cooperation between Turkey-Azerbaijan and Georgia, from Baku to Kars, is giving a new direction to the world railway transportation.
“New era in freight transportation”
Turhan stated that the line, which has been operating since October 30, 2017, heralds a new era in the railway freight transportation between Asia and Europe, and said that by means of this line, Turkey has become the most important connection point of the central corridor stretching from Beijing to London and of the Iron Silk Road reaching from Kazakhstan to Turkey. The freight transport time of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Line between China and Turkey is reduced down to 12 days from 1 month and with the integration of the “project of the century” Marmaray to this line the transport time between the Far East and Western Europe is reduced down to 18 days, said Turhan: “Considering the trade volume between Asia and Europe of $21 trillion, the importance of the issue will be easily understood. With approximately a population of 5 billion and 60 countries benefiting, the Iron Silk Road Line became a new and very important alternative for global trade networks.”
“11 thousand 483 kilometers road will be covered in 12 days”
Minister Turhan reported that China Railway Express, which started its journey in Xi’an, China, carrying 42 trucks equivalent of electronic products, with a total length of 820 meters and loaded with 42 containers, will cross 2 continents, 10 countries, 2 seas, covering 11 thousand 483 kilometers in 12 days. Turhan said that transporting the cargo over the middle corridor by using Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line and Marmaray will save time and energy compared to the other corridors and said, “This is a very historical step in terms of the course of both regional and global trade. Therefore, we are proud to look at this train, which has traveled thousands of kilometers, because it represents the new era in rail transport.” Turhan expressed that this project would contribute greatly to strengthen the relations between societies and to speed up the interaction between cultures in addition to offering commercial gain to countries, and said that he believes that the train, which has reached to Turkey without experiencing any problems, will complete its historic journey in Prague successfully.