A shipment of 17 tons of cashmere that values up to $1 million is on its way to the to the United Kingdom through the Lapis Lazuli Transport Corridor, Tolo news reports citing to the officials from Transport Ministry of Afghanistan.
“The shipment left Torghondi Port on Amu Darya river and has arrived in Azerbaijan after passing Turkmenistan,” said Hekmatullah Qowanj, spokesman for the Road Transport Department of the Ministry of Transport.
He said the truck that this shipment is being transported under the framework of TIR carnet by the Afghan TIR company and soon will arrive in Turkey.
Officials from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said the private sector had the preparations to export 13 trucks of goods to the UK through the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, but only one truck was sent due to visa problems for drivers.
Atiqullah Nusrat, the CEO of the ACCI, said that the only problem for Afghan exports to Europe through the Lapis Lazuli route is the visa problem. According to him, the route cannot be used effectively unless the visa problem is resolved.
Соглашение о Лазуритовом транспортном коридоре было подписано в октябре
The Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII) in Ashgabat in October last year between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Once implemented, it will become a key international trade and transport corridor to connect Afghanistan with Europe directly. And the first results show that the Lapis Lazuli Route meet expectations.
As to visa issues, it could be completely resolved during the negotiations. The main thing, according to Ashgabat, while promoting this project, is to show the Afghan peasants and entrepreneurs that for the economy of this country there is a good alternative to the production of drugs. These are the production of traditional Afghan export goods, like the same cashmere, and the integration of the Afghan economy into the system of regional and global world economic relations.
The Lapis Lazuli Route will begin in Afghanistan’s northern Aqina port in Faryab province and Torghandi in western Herat province and will run through to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan. From there it will cross the Caspian Sea and will link Baku to Tbilisi and Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Batumi and Poti. It will then connect with Kars in eastern Turkey before linking to Istanbul and Europe.