Economy, Domestic Economy

Russians Seeking Share in Rasht-Astara Railroad Project

Russians Seeking Share in Rasht-Astara Railroad ProjectRussians Seeking Share in Rasht-Astara Railroad Project

Russian Railways is interested to take part in the implementation of the Rasht-Astara railway project which is under construction by Iran and Azerbaijan, first vice president of Russian Railways, Alexander Misharin told Trend News Agency in an interview.

Russian Railways is a vertically integrated company, both managing infrastructure and operating freight and passenger train services. In 2012 it became one of the three largest transport companies in the world.

“Russian Railways has repeatedly expressed interest – including at my recent meeting with the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways deputy head Ahmad Khodaei – to participate in implementation of the project both in terms of supply of materials for track structure and other possible aspects,” Misharin noted.

He said different funding schemes have been proposed for Rasht-Astara railway’s construction, including creation of a joint tripartite enterprise.

“Later, the proposals had transformed into joint implementation of necessary feasibility work, financial and legal assessment of the project through signing of a contract between Russian, Azerbaijani and Iranian railway administrations and an independent engineering company,” he added.

The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway comes as part of a larger project to create the International North-South Transportation Corridor, which is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link for connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

In the initial stage, it is planned to transport 5 million tons of cargo via the INSTC per year and to increase the figure to over 10 million tons in the future.

Last month, Tehran and Baku drafted a plan for financing and implementing a railroad project connecting Iran’s two northern cities of Rasht and Astara in a meeting between Iran’s deputy minister of roads and urban development, Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan, and Azerbaijan’s deputy economy minister, Sahil Babayev, in Baku.

According to Fakhrieh-Kashan, the plan will pave the way for signing a contract “within the next few months” on joint investment in the construction of the railroad.

Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi says the Rasht-Astara railroad project requires $1 billion, half of which is to be funded by Azerbaijan.