27 June, 2013
June 17, 2013, the state owned Georgian Railway JSC disclosed its new development plan and the results of the first quarter.Accents fell on the great importance of the development plan of Georgian Railway (GR) as not only one of the most important industries of Georgia but also on its role and function in creating the development opportunities for the whole strategic sector of transport and logistics.
“One of the main elements and competitive priority for the economic development of the
country is its geographic location. The factor defines the possibilities to play the role in Western and Eastern transit and promote trade as an important trade and logistics centre in the region,” Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, stated.
He also paid attention to the timely implementation of the upcoming Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway route been under construction at the moment and expected to connect Middle East and China to Europe by direct rail connection. Kvirikashvili accentuated that works over the BRK are implemented every day. GR as the only railway operator in Georgia owns three business units and five subsidiary companies. Five passenger trains were added to GR equipped by air cushions and German braking system that guarantees comfort to passengers also 22-28% discount on tickets will be available according to the wagon classes.
Improved technical and operational indicators increased efficacy of GR. In particular, cost of energy was reduced from 11kwt to 10kwt for per ton cargo transportation and the labor of machine-operators was reduced by 9-10%. In comparison with the first quarter of 2012 the safety indicator was improved by 11% (number of rejected product reduced from 82 to 72) and incomes from the cargo transit increased by 13%. After Turkmenistan added its own locomotives into operation on Georgian rail road the income GR enjoys by lending its wagons reduced however the fact had a positive effect ultimately the wagon park capacity in increased in the corridor of GR resulted in bigger wagon turnover. 85.7km railway track and contact line of energy supply was repaired in 2012-2013 and 68 thousand timber sleepers have been replaced. As an aftermath of technical improvements GR expects the increase of turnover in 2013. Particularly, the amount of liquid cargo will be increased to 870 thousand tons and dry cargo to 200 thousand tons. There are active negotiations with Azerbaijan an indispensible part of the railway corridor connecting Caspian and Black Seas, on streamlining tariff rate on cotton, wheat, charcoal, as well as for cargo transported from Afghanistan [in frames of NATO project]. After the successful negotiations railway transit will be significantly increased, Georgian top officials believe.
The plan of Georgian Railway for 2013 envisages creation of customs terminal in Batumi port for the cargo transported by vehicle from Turkey. Moreover, vertical integration of a rope-operated ferry industry is planned across the Black Sea that is expected to enhance the turnover of the railway transit by 900 thousand tons. As to the much trumpeted project to cut down the travel time between Tbilisi and Batumi from 5 to 3 hours the idea is estimated unrealistic due to difficult mountainous passage on the route.
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