Domestic Economy

Iran, Azerbaijan Sign Ambitious Railroad Deal

Iran, Azerbaijan Sign  Ambitious Railroad Deal
Iran, Azerbaijan Sign  Ambitious Railroad Deal

Iran and Azerbaijan reached an agreement to push forward with the so-called North-South Transport Corridor, according to Iran's Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pakayin.

Iran's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi signed the deal with Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy and Industry Shahin Mustafayev during the first session of Iran-Azerbaijan Economic Commission held in the Azerbaijani city of Astara on Friday.

Azerbaijan pledged to build 2 kilometers of Astara-Rasht Railroad. The Iranian minister announced that Qazvin-Rasht Railroad will go on stream and be linked to Astara-Rasht Railroad by the end of 2016, IRNA reported.

"Upon the project's completion, the Silk Road Railroad will be completed and European countries such as Finland can gain access to the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman through Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran," Pakayin said.

On the second day, the commission convened in the Iranian city of Astara on Saturday.

“According to statistics, freight transportation is 25 million tons a year between Europe and India, 6 million tons between Russia and Iran, and 30-40 million tons between the Persian Gulf states and Europe,” Baku-based Trend News Agency quoted Chairman of Azerbaijani Railways Javid Gurbanov as saying.

“Despite the fact that the shortest way to St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Berlin, many cities of the Russian Federation, etc., passes through Azerbaijan and Iran, almost all the cargoes bypass us. That deprives both the railroads of Iran and Azerbaijan from profits. Therefore, we are interested in building this railroad.”

Gurbanov noted that this railroad is a great source of income for Azerbaijan and Iran, and will also create many jobs.

NSTC is a multi-modal transportation established in 2000 in St. Petersburg, by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation among the member states. The corridor connects Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran, and then is connected to St. Petersburg and North European via Russian Federation.

The project was later expanded to include 11 more countries, namely Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria as observer members.

According to preliminary estimates, its capacity will be 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million tons of cargo a year. Around 22 tunnels and 15 bridges will be built along the railroad's route.

The volume of cargo transportation through the corridor will amount to 6 million tons in the initial stage and will reach 15-20 million tons in future.