The geographic location plays an important role in the social, economic, and political life of Georgia. Historically, Georgia was considered to be a transit territory connecting Europe and Asia. South Caucasus is one of the shortest routes between Central Asia and Europe, and is very convenient for international shipping. Georgia with its strategic location creates natural logistic bridge between Caucasus and Central Asia.
The transport infrastructure in Ajara is a critical part of the country’s logistic infrastructure. Huge amount of cargo is imported and exported via Batumi Sea Port and Batumi-Istanbul Highway.
Passenger turnover indicators by means of transport in 2011-2015 (thousand passengers)
In recent years, the economic development of south Caucasus contributed to dynamic growth of cargo flow via road routes. The existence of an adequate transit infrastructure in Ajara is critical for the further development of transit corridor as it will help to draw additional transit cargo towards Georgia.
Road networks and highways connect Ajara region to the rest of Georgia and neighboring countries: Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
- Senaki-Poti-Sarpi (46.5 km) - route to Turkey
- Batumi-Akhalkalaki-Akhaltsikhe (117 km) - route to Azerbaijan and Armenia
- Kobuleti-Sarpi highway (59 km) - route to Turkey (Under construction; will be completed in 2015)
The role of suburban and long-distance passenger’s transfer is very important and essential for Ajara. The road transport is well-developed, especially in mountainous parts of region, because mostly it is the only way of transportation there.
Renewed Batumi International Airport was opened in 2007 by TAV Airports Holding. Airport has direct connection with 5 countries on 8 different destinations. Besides domestic flight (Batumi-Tbilisi), the airport serves regular international flights operated by Georgian Airways, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Sibir S 7, Belavia, Iraqi Airlines: Batumi-Istanbul, Batumi-Kiev, Batumi-Minsk, Batumi-Moscow, Batumi – Baghdad, Batumi – Erbil, Batumi – Sulaymaniyah, Batumi - Tbilisi. During summer season, airport serves additional international flights: Batumi-Tel-Aviv, Batumi – Warsaw.
Makhinjauri and Kobuleti railway stations were built and modernized in 2006. Makhinjauri railway station serves around 560 000 passengers annually.
Train passengers are transported within the country. Ajara is a tourism region. Considering the fact that the biggest share of foreign visitors are from Armenia, the Georgian Railway appointed seasonal Erevan-Makhinjauri train, which started in 2007.
Batumi Railway Cargo Terminal and Station
Georgia is a part of Europe-Caucasus-Asia transit corridor (TRACECA) and represents an alternative route for strategic cargo movement from the Caspian Sea to Europe and vice versa. The length of the main railway from Choloki to Batumi is 34 km and the railway development of the stations is 35.7 km.
BATUMI SEA PORT
Batumi Sea port is distinguished with its geostrategic and natural advantages:
- The port is located in a deep water bay enabling to accept high tonnage vessels
- It is not necessary to pass a channel to enter the port
- The port is well protected from coast
Batumi Sea Port is connected to the countries of Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as Ukraine and Turkey via roads and railroad network.
Batumi Sea Port as a transport link serves the eastern part of the Black Sea basin, enabling to reload 94% of freight passing through TRACECA route and to carry dry cargo trough the mentioned corridor from the countries located in south.
Batumi Sea Port is also used as main transit for oil recycling industry of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
The port has 5 terminals: oil and dry cargo terminals, container and railway ferry terminals and a passenger terminal.