The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) on Monday said a test run will be carried out within the next month transporting Afghan goods to Europe via the Lapis Lazuli Corridor.
According to MoIC, the first shipment will be two containers - of Afghan carpets and gemstones - which will go to Turkey and Holland.
Yahya Akhlaqi, the director of transit and trade facilities at the MoIC, said the pilot phase will enable the Lapis Lazuli Corridor countries to assess problems and challenges and they will then take the necessary steps to solve the issues.
According to Akhlaqi, the Afghan goods will be sent to Turkey and Holland by railway and on trucks and will reach the Black Sea ports in six days.
“At today’s meeting with transport companies, we decided to transfer some of the goods via railway and the rest via truck and ship,” said Akhlaqi.
The International Chamber of Commerce's country director Abdul Qadir Bahman meanwhile said the Lapis Lazuli Corridor will help traders export and import goods quickly and more cheaply.
“Commitments of the countries involved in this corridor are needed to resolve the challenges that this pilot shipment will face,” said Bahman.
The Lapis Lazuli Corridor Agreement was signed two years ago on the sidelines of the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference (RECCA) for Afghanistan by five nations, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, in Turkmenistan.
The corridor will start at 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 the Azerbaijani capital 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.