Port of Baku begins construction of strategic fertilizer terminal in Alat

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BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 9. /PRNewswire/ “Baku International Sea Trade Port” CJSC (aka the Port of Baku) has announced the start of construction of a fertilizer terminal at its new facility in Alat, Azerbaijan. The strategic terminal is jointly financed by the Government of Azerbaijan and the Port of Baku. It is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2022.

The investment decision resulted from a feasibility study revealing a significant potential for transshipment of fertilizers from landlocked Central Asian countries to western markets via Azerbaijan. Three resource-rich states of Central Asia – Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – have production capacity for various fertilizers, including urea, sulfur, and potassium carbonate that exceeds 6.6 million tons annually. All three countries have invested heavily in constructing fertilizer production facilities to increase potential export volumes. A recently inaugurated Garabogaz Fertilizer Plant, located on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan, can alone produce 1.2 million tons of urea per annum, of which more than 90% for export.

“The volume of Central Asian – primarily Turkmen – fertilizers transshipped via the Port of Baku has increased more than 13-fold between 2018 and 2020, from 48,339 tons to 630,000 tons,” said Taleh Ziyadov, Director-General of Port of Baku. “And the trend is accelerating. In the first 5 months of 2021, we handled more than 450,000 tons of fertilizers, signifying the reliability of the transit corridor via Azerbaijan. A new terminal will ensure reliability in Central Asia’s fertilizer supply chain and allow us to increase volume from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,” added Ziyadov.

The Port of Baku’s new fertilizer terminal will have the capacity to handle 2.5 million tons annually. The facility will have two warehouses with a total capacity of 60,000 tons, and state-of-the-art conveyor systems to unload the various types of fertilizers directly to warehouses or into wagons/rail hoppers at a newly designed wagon loading station. The port authority plans to lease the terminal operation through a long-term concession and is currently in negotiations with potential bidders.

The Port of Baku’s fertilizer terminal will increase the role of Azerbaijan as a strategic transit country for Central Asian states and boost President Ilham Aliyev’s diversification strategy for turning Azerbaijan into a trade and logistics hub of Eurasia. With the completion of new port in Alat with an annual throughput capacity of 15 million tons, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway connecting European and Asian rail networks, and key infrastructure projects linking the country’s transport networks along the East-West and North-South axes, Azerbaijan aims to become the top choice for foreign logistics companies and investors intending to expand their business at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.