Afghan Goods On The Way To UK Via Lapis Lazuli Route

A shipment of 17 tons of cashmere that values up to $1 million is on its way to the United Kingdom through the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, officials from Transport Ministry said Thursday. 

The shipment left Torghondi Port in Herat province in the west of Afghanistan on April 20 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 transfers the Afghan cashmere will arrive in Turkey next week and then the goods will be transported to the United Kingdom.

“In the second shipment, there is 17 tons of cashmere which values $1 million. This shipment is being transported under the framework of TIR carnet by the Afghan TIR company and soon will arrive in Turkey,” Qowanj said.

Officials from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) said the private sector had the preparations to export 13 trucks of goods to the UKthrough the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, but only one truck was sent due to problems 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.

“Our investors cannot use this route effectively unless the visa problem is resolved. The only problem that has remained unsolved is the visa problem,” said Nusrat.

The Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was signed in October last year between Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia and once implemented will become a key international trade and transport corridor to connect Afghanistan with Europe directly.

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 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.

The Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and was signed during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

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