Azerbaijan, considered as the bridge between Europe and Asia offers great transit opportunities and wide range of logistics priorities.

Austria supports Azerbaijan’s energy projects in the region which aimed at delivery of Caspian energy resources to European markets, in addition to the transport corridor project from Europe to China, as well as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project that was realised recently.

Transport sector for Austrian companies is now the main area for investments in Azerbaijan.

Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev met with a delegation led by chairman of the Austrian Federal Railways JSC (OBB) Andreas Matte on February 19.

Mustafayev informed that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the development of cooperation with European Union countries, including Austria.

The trade relations between our countries are developing, and the trade turnover doubled in 2018. Presently, about 50 Austrian companies operate in the industry, construction, trade, service, banking and insurance, transport and other spheres. Nevertheless, there is potential for expanding ties in various fields of economy.

Mustafayev pointed out Azerbaijan’s favourable geostrategic position at the intersection of North-South and East-West transport corridors, highlighting the great transit potential of our country, the opportunities for development of transport and transit cooperation with Austria, emphasising the importance of expanding ties between transport structures and mutual exchange of information.

Minister noted that Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Baku International Sea Trade Port create opportunities for development of transit-logistics cooperation. Azerbaijan plays an important role in transporting goods from China to Europe and vice versa, and Trans-Caspian international transport route from Azerbaijan complies with China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative.

There is a modern shipbuilding plant in our country. Modern roads from the northern border to the southern border, as well as from Baku to the Georgian border are put into operation. All this plays an important role in strengthening the transport and transit capacities of Azerbaijan and creates conditions for active participation in transit transportation.

Chairman of Austrian Federal Railways Andreas Matte stressed that his country attaches great importance to cooperation with Azerbaijan, briefed on the company’s activity and highlighted the importance of expanding relations with Azerbaijan.

At the meeting, which was attended by chairman of the Azerbaijan Railways Javid Gurbanov, discussions were held on the expansion of bilateral mutual transit relations.

The Austrian delegation led by Andreas Matte also visited the Baku port. CEO Taleh Ziyadov informed the guests about the work being done to transform the new port of Baku in the Alat settlement into the main logistics centre in the Caspian region.

Last year, Javid Gurbanov stated that Austria intends to send a freight train that will run to Kazakhstan via the BTK railway. Among European carriers, Austria will first use BTK. The Azerbaijani railways will be brought to the European level in the next five to seven years.

As of December 2017, Azerbaijan Railways, Rail Cargo Austria and the Turkish State Railways signed a memorandum of understanding which included the development of a competitive, high-speed, intermodal railway network in Europe, the CIS, and China.

Diplomatic relations between Austria and Azerbaijan were established in 1992.

The Joint Commission on Cooperation in the Field of Economics, Agriculture, Industry, Technology, and Technology operates between the two countries.

Austrian Federal Railways show
Photo: Austrian Federal Railways Show.

The most dynamic areas in cooperation are energy, transportation, tourism, and construction.

The highest level of trade turnover between the two countries was registered in 2015 when it amounted to 525 million euros. The turnover mainly comprises oil products as well as agricultural, machine-building, and petrochemical products.

In 2017, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Austria was close to 422 million euros, of which 362 million fell to Austria’s imports, which includes primarily oil, gas and copper products. Azerbaijan mainly imports products, water, pharmaceutical products and iron, steel products.

Austrian companies invested $73 million in Azerbaijan’s economy, while Azerbaijan invested $60 million in the economy of Austria.