Domestic Economy

3 Presidents to Discuss Key Transport Corridor in Baku Summit

3 Presidents to Discuss Key  Transport Corridor in Baku Summit
3 Presidents to Discuss Key  Transport Corridor in Baku Summit

At a meeting of Azerbaijani, Russian and Iranian presidents, to be held August 8 in Baku, the International North-South Transportation Corridor, which connects the three countries, is likely to be one of the main topics of discussions, said deputy head of Azerbaijan Railways Igbal Huseynov in an interview with Trend News Agency.

Huseynov said Azerbaijan is particularly interested in the project.

“Azerbaijan, located on the crossroads of the two major international transportation corridors – from north to south and from east to west, has for centuries strategically played the role of a bridge,” he noted.

“Forecasts show that once fully commissioned, the INSTC will create access opportunities to the Persian Gulf and India for European countries, Russia, the Caucasus region and Central Asia, as well as intensify trade relations between the Caspian countries and the Black Sea ports,” Huseynov added.

He noted that launching the first train from India to Russia through Iran and Azerbaijan as part of the project is on the agenda.

“Railway authorities of Azerbaijan and Russia, as a part of the North-South project’s development, agreed to cooperate in luring freight traffic through transportation via the India-Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia route and vice versa,” said Huseynov. “Russian Railways Logistics JSC and ADY Express LLC will be the project’s logistics operators.”

He added that currently cargo from India to Russia’s European part are delivered via the sea, called route “A”.

“The route from Nhava Sheva Port (Jawaharlal Nehru Port) to Moscow takes about 40 days,” Huseynov said, adding that the new multi-modal route “B” includes the use of the sea, railway and motor transportation, and will allow reducing the time of cargo delivery down to 14 days.

He said it has been agreed that the first test train will depart from Mumbai on this route in the coming months.

 “The train will deliver cargo to Moscow according to the tariff agreed upon by concrete participants of the corridor,” said Huseynov.

  Finland’s Involvement

He said on June 2, Russia’s Sochi hosted a meeting of heads of railway authorities from Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran and Finland - Javid Gurbanov, Oleg Belozerov, Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei and Mikael Aro within the 11th International Rail Business Forum.

“During the negotiations, it was decided on the proposal made by Javid Gurbanov to establish a coordinating committee on the North-South project by the example of the Trans-Caspian transport route, in order to accelerate the corridor’s development,” Huseynov said.

“A single competitive tariff may be applied in the future on the North-South route,” he said. “The issue of Finland’s involvement in the project was discussed at the meeting. The Finnish representative said his country is interested in the transportation corridor. Finland’s joining this project will further strengthen the corridor’s potential.”

 Iran-Azeri Cooperation

Huseynov said the Rasht-Astara railroad will be constructed under a joint cooperation of Azerbaijani and Iranian companies, and the two countries will invest in the project.

 “It is expected that the document on this cooperation will be discussed at the meeting in Baku.”

He noted that implementation of the INSTC project will play an important role in expanding relations between Azerbaijan and Iran.

In accordance with a decree issued by the Azeri president regarding the acceleration of work on the project, excavation work is currently underway at an 8.3-kilometer section of the railroad from Azerbaijan’s Astara up to the border with Iran.

 “The work continues to lay concrete, transfer water, electricity and gas lines,” said Huseynov. “As many as 315 facilities, including 10 residential buildings, which are to be transferred, are located in the territory, and the transfer of 104 facilities has been completed.”

At the same time, work is in progress on the 82.5-meter railway bridge at the Azeri-Iran border over the Astarachay River.