Economy, Domestic Economy

Rouhani to Inaugurate Key Rail Project

Rouhani to Inaugurate Key Rail ProjectRouhani to Inaugurate Key Rail Project

President Hassan Rouhani’s office announced Saturday that the president will visit Golestan province on Tuesday to inaugurate a key rail project, which would connect Iran to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

The presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are expected to join the inauguration ceremony, which is due to be held on Wednesday, according to the office.

Earlier this month, Vice President for Executive Affairs Mohammad Shariatmadari said the corridor would become operational by the end of 2014. “Once the project is finished, it will have the capacity to transfer 10 million tons of cargo per year,” Shariatmadari said.

The project, known as the North-South Transnational Corridor, is a 677km-long railway line connecting the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with Iran and the Persian Gulf.  It will link Uzen in Kazakhstan with Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek in Turkmenistan and end in the city of Gorgan in Iran’s Golestan province. In Iran, the railway will be linked to the national network making its way to the ports of the Persian Gulf.

The project is estimated to cost $620 million, which is being jointly funded by the governments of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran.

Construction of the rail lines is in progress in the three countries. An intergovernmental agreement on the project was signed in 2007 by the then presidents of the three countries.

Similar opportunities will also appear for the transit of goods from countries in Southeast and South Asia, and the Indian Ocean littoral states to Eastern and Northern Europe via Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia.

This route is much shorter than passing through the Suez Canal. It will run up to 137km in Kazakhstan, 470km in Turkmenistan and 70km in Iran.