Economy, Business And Markets

Azeri Co. Transports Cargo via INSTC

Azeri Co. Transports Cargo via INSTCAzeri Co. Transports Cargo via INSTC

ADY Express Company, a subsidiary of Azerbaijan Railways, has started moving cargo via the so-called International North-South Corridor.

“Although there is no railway between Azerbaijan and Iran, ADY is already transporting cargo via this route. For example, compressed liquid gas (butadiene) was transported from Iran to Russia in a special container,” a statement issued by Azerbaijan Railways said as reported by Trend News Agency.

“More than 60 of such containers were transported to the north through the territory of Azerbaijan.”

The INSTC project stipulates that Northern Europe and Southeast Asia be connected via the railroads of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. It would connect Iran with Russia’s Baltic ports and give Russia rail connectivity to both the Persian Gulf and the Indian rail network. At least on paper, this would mean that goods could be carried from Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and further to Baku. They could then pass over the Russian border into Astrakhan before going on to Moscow and St. Petersburg, then onward into Europe. The corridor would cut the travel time for everything from Asian consumer goods to Central Eurasia’s natural resources to advanced European exports.

“These containers are transported from Iran to Azerbaijan by truck .Then the containers are loaded onto the platforms at the Astara railway station and transported to Russia. Previously, these goods were transported from Iran to Russia by sea to the port of Astrakhan,” the statement added.

INSTC grabbed the limelight at a trilateral summit attended by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Hassan Rouhani in August. Moreover, India committed itself to a massive investment in developing the project in a visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran earlier this year.

Azerbaijan’s railway network is already connected to Russia. Tehran and Baku lately signed investment agreements to complete the missing rail links along the route, including a rail route between the Iranian cities of Qazvin, Rasht and Astara. The International Bank of Azerbaijan has approved a $500 million loan for the construction of the Rasht-Astara section, which is estimated to cost about $1.1 billion.

The Rasht-Astara section is scheduled to be completed in four years and will be linked to Azerbaijan after the Iranian city of Astara is connected to the city in Azerbaijan by the same name. The Qazvin-Rasht section has already made 93% progress and will be completed by March 2017.

From Iran’s perspective, the INSTC is deemed as the key to realization of the country’s ambition to become a transit hub in the region.