Baku to Turkmenbashi Ferry

I thought I’d through in my $.02 about the Baku-Turkmenbashi ferry as I’ve received many PM’s, emails, etc. about this.

The B-T ferry is a rail car ferry primarily and takes on passengers and vehicles(including trucks), space allowing. It leaves on a scheduled based on when the rail cars are loaded onto the ferry and on some occasions, can leave sometimes 2-3 times a day. Once a day is the norm though and ask the Customs guys there info about the departure times and rail car loading to best gauge things. There is a similar ferry to Aqtau(Kazakhstan) but only a couple times a week.

The Azeri ferry company that runs it owns a fleet of about 5 ferries. It takes one day to cross the Caspian and docks in the harbor awaiting another one of the previously arriving ferries to unload. Once unloaded, that ferry awaits rail cargo from Turkmenistan to Baku to be loaded. This can take days and cause a backup in ferries in the harbor…so bring food enough for 3-4 days of a ferry ride, or sufficient porn to bribe the cook.

The reason an unloaded ferry will sit in the dock, is that the ferry crew only gets paid by the load, unlike most mariners. Therefore they won’t give up their spot in the queue until they get a return load.

Finding the ferry dock in Baku is NOT eaasy. You must first find the main Customs office near the waterfront. Then keep past it heading north about 1-200 meters and on your right will be an unmarked entrance to a road. Continue down that road, and turn right and continue down that road until the dock.

The paperwork requires proof of entry into Turkmenistan, and vehicle import into Azerbaijan, you’ll pay a ferry fee based on size, your ride fee, and a bridge tax….this is NOTHING compared to the Turkmenistan side so be patient when you get there.

I took the ferry in April 2007 so things may have changed since then.