Azerbaijan is strategically located and plays a crucial role in the connectivity of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) route, said Ambassador of India to Azerbaijan Bawitlung Vanlalvawna, Report informs.

The envoy was addressing a webinar titled “Activating International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC): Role of Azerbaijan,” organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), jointly with the Embassy of India in Baku.

Ambassador Vanlalvawna reminded that 32 containers have departed from Helsinki en route to the Indian port of Nava Sheva using the INSTC route that travels through Russia, crosses Azerbaijan, and transit Iran to reach India.

He also highlighted the various contributions made by Azerbaijan towards the operationalization of INSTC: “Azerbaijan is one of the most prepared countries in infrastructure including rail-road lines from Astara, Azerbaijan to Russia to establish enhanced connectivity.”

Natig Jafarov, director at ADY Container, highlighted that the Azerbaijan route is 20 percent cheaper than the alternative overland route and twice faster than the deep-sea route via Suez Canal. He also drew attention to an alternate route called the International South-West Transport Corridor to enhance goods flow between India and the Persian Gulf, Black Sea region, and European countries.

Orkhan Mustafayev, deputy head of United Transit Operator Department, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, talked about INSTC as an important corridor in terms of competitiveness. He alluded to the application of the one window principle at INSTC and invited important stakeholders in PPP partnerships, investment by industry and government for the development of INSTC.

Shankar Shinde, managing director at GLOBAL EXPRESS MULTILOGISTICS PVT LTD and Chairman-Elect at Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, drew attention to Azerbaijan as an essential player in INSTC as it is strategically located and opens opportunities not only on the North-South Corridor but also the Eastern Corridor. He noted that active participation from stakeholders is important and will help address challenges from time to time.

Gudla Ravi Kumar, executive director (DL & Coastal) at CONCOR India, highlighted that CONCOR India has moved more than 2000 containers in 5 months for Iran and Iraq, mostly in commodities including rice, tiles, marbles, etc. He suggested concerns related to dispatching of materials, commodities under sanctions, and goods that can be sent across borders as key issues to be addressed by the government for seamless movement of goods on the INSTC route.