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TURKEY: The first train has run to the Kars Logistics Centre, which is being built to serve the Kars – Tbilisi – Baku railway connecting Turkey with Georgia and Azerbaijan. Full commercial operations are planned to begin by the end of the year.

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The TL150m freight facility is linked to the main line by a 7 km spur. It has 19 sidings totalling 20·5 km over an area of 400 000 m2, including an 80 000 m2 container handling area with 60 000 m2 of storage space.

The site can handle trains from Turkey’s 1 435 mm standard gauge network as well as the 1 520 mm broad gauge used in the former USSR, with customs clearance undertaken at the site rather than at the border.

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Trains carrying goods ‘from China, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan can arrive here and transfer their cargo onto trains bound for Europe’, said former transport minister and current local member of parliament, Ahmet Arslan, at a ceremony to mark the arrival of the first train on June 23.

He noted that the BTK railway had continued to operate as normal during the coronavirus pandemic, carrying 138 000 tonnes of freight since the start of the outbreak.

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The Kars Logistics Centre is one of 11 being developed by infrastructure manager TCDD. The facilities at Sivas, Erzurum and Kahramanmaraş are under construction, with sites at Karaman, Mardin, Tatvan, Boğazköprü, Bozüyük and Niğde in Asia and Inanbul in Europe included in TCDD’s investment programme.