Domestic Economy

Corridor to China Transit Channels

Corridor to China  Transit Channels Corridor to China  Transit Channels

A top transportation official said on Monday that the transit corridor connecting Iran to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan will serve as “a strategic route” for Tehran to have access to China’s transit channels.

Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan Railway Project will come to an end later this month, with President Hassan Rouhani now preparing to travel to Golestan Province, bordering Turkmenistan, for inauguration.

“The strategic outlook transit corridor offers Iran easier access to China’s transit channels,” Abbas Akhoundi, the minister of roads and urban development, told the Financial Tribune on Monday.

The railway is expected to transport some 10 million metric tons (MT) of cargo every year, while the initial transportation capacity was estimated at 3 million MT. This is expected to increase to 6 million MT in three years, said the minister during a press conference held in Tehran.

The project would benefit all countries involved. Apart from Iran, Kazakhstan will be able to export its massive wheat production more easily, and Turkmenistan will be able to export its natural gas through a reliable route.

Iran is already connected to Turkmenistan through the northeastern city of Sarakhs but the new corridor will link the country to China through a 1600 km rail network in Kazakhstan, Mohsen Pourseyed Aqaei, the deputy minister of roads and the head of Iran Railways said, during the press conference.

The project also aims to create a multimodal transport system to provide seamless connectivity in the region for passenger travel as well. The passenger trains will travel at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour, while the speed for cargo trains will not exceed 120 km.

Iran is also working on two other strategic corridors – the Khaf-Herat Railway which connects the country to Afghanistan rail network and a project that connects the capital Tehran to Qazvin, Anzali Port and Astara in the north, said Pourseyed Aqaei.

  Inauguration Ceremony

President Rouhani is planning to jointly inaugurate the project, during a ceremony on Dec. 3, with his two counterparts, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, IRNA reported on Monday.

The project will connect Iran’s railway network to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region. The construction work of the project began in 2012 after the three countries reached an agreement.

Out of the 900 km railway, Iran has the smallest share – 80 km. In Iran the railway starts in northern city of Gorgan and continues its way to Incheboroun border near Turkmenistan, which hosts the longest part of the project – 700 km. The railway has a 120 km length in Kazakhstan.