Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads of major Eurasian land and air transportation corridors. Since gaining independence, the Azerbaijani government has actively tried to make the country a bridge between Europe and Asia. Over the last decade, it has invested billions of dollars into commercial infrastructure and transportation projects. It is finalizing construction of the largest port in the Caspian Sea (in Alyat, 60 kilometers south of Baku), it has helped construct the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railroad, and it is turning the Baku airport into a modern hub. Billions have been invested into the road system, significantly decreasing travel times between the Caspian Sea and the Azerbaijani-Georgian border, 550 kilometers west of Baku.
The main idea of these projects is to position Azerbaijan as a lucrative link between Asia, Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and Europe. Baku understands the importance of implementing diversification strategies in anticipation of the depletion of the country’s hydrocarbon reserves. However, some projects may not be sustainable or needed by its counterparts. Geopolitical realities can also frustrate Baku’s plans.