Domestic Economy

ECO’s 3-Nation Road Transport Corridor Becomes Operational

ECO’s 3-Nation Road Transport Corridor Becomes Operational
ECO’s 3-Nation Road Transport Corridor Becomes Operational

The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) road transportation corridor has become operational.
Two truck shipments reached Iran’s Mirjaveh border crossing in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province from Pakistan’s Karachi on Thursday, according to the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“The two consignments, one containing tires and the other textiles, are being transported under TIR Carnets [TIR convention] to Istanbul,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The cargos are to exit the country via Bazargan border crossing in West Azarbaijan Province’s Maku County.
A ceremony was attended by Turkey and Pakistan’s envoys to Iran as well as Iranian officials in Iran’s Qom Province on Saturday, halfway through the shipment’s journey through the Iranian mainland.
Javad Hedayati, director general of Transit Affairs Bureau with Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, says the ITI Corridor can easily replace the Suez Canal route.
“ECO’s ITI transportation corridor holds huge potential; for one thing transportation time between Istanbul and Pakistan is reduced to 10-12 days from the 25-30 days [through the Suez Canal]. Moreover, the corridor reduces transportation costs by 30%,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
According to Hedayati, transportation costs rose dramatically in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This has made road freight transport even more cost-effective. Today, there is a great opportunity for us to use our transit corridors, ITI in particular, to their full potential,” he added.
TIR enables goods to be shipped from a country of origin, through transit countries, to a country of destination in sealed load compartments that are controlled by customs via a multilateral, mutually recognized system. It is said to be the easiest, safest and most reliable way to move goods across multiple international borders, saving time and money for transport operators and customs authorities.
The Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) is a multilateral treaty that was concluded in Geneva, Switzerlands, on Nov. 14, 1975, to simplify and harmonize the administrative formalities of international road transport. TIR stands for “Transports Internationaux Routiers” or “International Road Transport”.
“Iran is located on the corridors’ routes from north to south and west to east,” says Mohammad Lahouti, the head of Iran Export Confederation, adding that the country remains the most important corridor to cross West Asia, though many countries tried to replace it over these years.

ITI Rail Corridor Expected to Be Relaunched in 2021

Besides the road, the ITI corridor also links the three countries via railroad.
The freight train is expected to be relaunched in 2021 and has created a positive atmosphere for those in the business world, wrote Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.
The connecting train services were initially launched in 2009 but was suspended in 2011 due to several delays in Pakistan.
While 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) of the railroad are in Turkey, 2,603 kilometers (1,620 miles) are in Iran and 1,990 kilometers (1,230 miles) are in Pakistan.
In 2020, at the 10th ECO Transport and Communications Ministers Meeting, participants decided to relaunch the railroad in 2021.
Ahmet Cengiz Ozdemir, chairman of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey-Pakistan Business Council, said the train has critical importance in the development of countries in Turkey's regional integration.
"The railroad, aiming to strengthen communication and interaction between three countries, is not active due to uncertainties and conflicts in the region," he said.
Ozdemir underlined that the three countries can benefit from the railroad that can be integrated with air and sea routes.
The duration of 14 days (via railroad) provides advantages in terms of time and cost compared to seaways, he added.
Referring to China's Road and Belt Project to connect China and Europe uninterruptedly, he said the ITI railroad is also important for China, considering Chinese investments in Pakistan and Iran.
Thanks to the free trade agreement between China and Pakistan, third countries can make exports to China without customs taxes, he added.
Ozdemir noted that the expectation of the railroad’s opening in the coming days, which has big implications for the region, has created a positive environment for the business world.
"We are aware that it is a route that will provide access to important markets. We hope that the problems will be resolved soon, even before the end of 2021,” he said.
Ozdemir underlined that the train is also important for passengers because it provides lower prices versus airways.
“The line corridor also provides opportunities to neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and China,” he said.



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