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Video: Port of Baku – offering supply chain alternatives

The Port of Baku on the Caspian Sea sees itself as an alternative for moving cargoes between Europe and China and part of the backbone of a transport corridor between the two.

Eugene Seah, Chief Operations Officer, Port of Baku spoke with Marcus Hand, Editor of Seatrade Maritime News, during in TOC Asia to explain what the port has to offer and its plans for the future.

Watch the interview on video above

What does the Port of Baku offer the industry and supply chain?

Eugene Seah: We offer alternatives to create sustainability. For example, when the supply chains are disrupted - the Maritime Silk Road - people see this as an alternative to move cargoes from Europe to China and vice versa. And more importantly, this has placed renewed effort emphasis on solving the bottlenecks inherent in the middle corridor. Bottlenecks such as capacity, documentations use, pricing, transparency, all this in a very good way has been surfaced and so it provides motivation for the countries to work together to solve this. But I think the real benefit to this is for the economies of Central Asia and Caucasus including Azerbaijan, where I work, because this will be the backbone of a transport corridor to be transformed into an economic corridor. And this will have added benefits of attracting investments in the region. Because as you know, this area is very rich in natural resources, it's got a very young population, educated as well, and there's political stability.

There's a lot there's been a lot of talk and developments in recent year in terms of rail connections through China into sort of Central Asia and Europe. Is that something that Baku was looking to play a part?

Eugene Seah: Yes, Baku has provided in terms of the port is provided necessary infrastructure we work with the railways to provide the necessary connectivity in terms of software and hardware. And if there's a need and there's a demand for such a service to connect containers from China to Europe, Baku will fulfil its role.

Do you see Baku’s role more related to the cargoes that come from that region or more as connecting the supply chain across Central Asia?

Eugene Seah: Both. We look at it as a we are an essential component of supply chain and serving that role we become a connector for the different transport routes and inter modalities transiting this middle corridor.

What types of shipping does the Port of Baku serve?

Eugene Seah: The Caspian Sea itself has vessels but we don't receive ongoing vessels from the Black Sea because of the Volga-Don Canal draut is only 3.6 metres and is only capable of catering to vessels not more than 15 metres in width. So, this itself is actually a constraint for us to receive ongoing shipping vessels. The cargo that we receive comes from Turkey and Georgia they are connected to the Maritime Silk Roads to us by rail.

If we were come back and talk to you in five years-time what would be advancements you'd expect to have seen in Baku Port?

Eugene Seah: In terms of our plans we're going to develop phase two, there's additional capacity of the port. We have also adjacent to us a free economic zone that will provide  an added boost to our economy by extracting investments and also to include and also to be able to solve the bottlenecks collectively and working in partnership with our neighbouring countries like Kazakhstan and Georgia to improve the transit times of the middle corridor.

TAGS: Asia