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Transit Transformed
Economy, Domestic Economy

Transit Transformed

The newly-inaugurated transnational railway linking Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan will transform the transit procedure in the region, said President Hassan Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian on Thursday, calling it the “Rail Silk Road.”

The so-called North-South Transport Corridor linking Central Asia with the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman was officially inaugurated on Wednesday in a ceremony that was attended by the presidents of the three countries and a number of high-ranking dignitaries in the Turkmen frontier village of Ak-Yayla.

“The new transit route made possible by the launch of the railway can be expanded to Europe,” Nahvandian was quoted by MNA as saying.

He said that the expansion of railroad in both northern and southern parts of the country will help boost the regional economy, adding that “we have to be linked to all the neighboring countries via railroad.”

His remarks echoed President Rouhani’s stance during the inauguration ceremony that “the opening of the corridor represented a historic breakthrough that will benefit the region and beyond.”

The corridor will shorten the distance between the Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Europe. It has been under construction since 2007 after Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to start working on the railway, which is 925 kilometers long in total, with 85 kilometers in Iran’s territory, 700 in Turkmenistan and 140 in Kazakhstan.

It is estimated that initially three to five million metric tons of cargo per year will be transported via this route. In the long term the volume is set to increase to 10-12 million metric tons.

The project, which is yet to be fully completed, has been financed by the three governments as well as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

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