Economy, Domestic Economy

Iran-Azerbaijan Railroad Linkup: 1st Astara-Astara Pilot Train in Dec.

Henceforth, Iran’s border checkpoint with Azerbaijan will operate round the clock
Astara-Astara railroad runs 8 kilometers in Azerbaijan up to the border from where it extends 2 km to Iran’s port city of Astara
Astara-Astara railroad runs 8 kilometers in Azerbaijan up to the border from where it extends 2 km to Iran’s port city of Astara

Azerbaijan will run the first pilot train after the Astara-Astara railroad linkup in December.

This was announced by Azeri Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev following a meeting with Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Masoud Karbasian who visited Baku on Thursday.

The so-called Astara-Astara railroad is part of the International North-South Transport Corridor that runs 8 kilometers in Azerbaijan up to the border from where it extends 2 km to Iran’s port city of Astara.

The project also includes a bridge on Astarachay River that stretches along the border.

“The first stage of INSTC, a transit route from India to Europe and Central Asia and vice versa, passing through Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, has also been completed,” IRNA also quoted Mustafayev as saying.

 Shahin Mustafayev (L), Masoud Karbasian

Karbasian, the new co-chairman of Iran-Azerbaijan Economic Commission, said the Astara-Astara railroad, which is meant to connect Iran to Northern Europe, will become operational in the near future, thanks to the effective cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan Republic over the past four years.

He added that henceforth, Iran’s border checkpoint with Azerbaijan will operate round the clock.

Karbasian noted that the construction of Qazvin-Rasht railroad has made 95% progress and will become operational in four months.

Noting that up until now three economic commissions have convened between Iran and Azerbaijan and more than 50 high-ranking delegations have visited the two countries, Karbasian said the meetings of the fourth round of commission will be held in Tehran soon.  

Referring to joint projects between Iran and Azerbaijan in the fields of transportation, energy, auto manufacturing and pharmaceuticals as well as oil and gas, the Azeri official said more than 40 agreements have been signed between Iran and Azerbaijan over the past four years in different fields.

Agriculture in Focus

Mustafayev noted that the two countries have discussed the establishment of a joint venture for the production of agricultural machinery.  

“We are also negotiating the issue of establishing various joint ventures, cooperation in seed production, beekeeping, animal husbandry and other spheres,” Azernews quoted him as saying.

Mustafayev noted that both economic and political relations between Azerbaijan and Iran are at a high level.

“Trade turnover between Iran and Azerbaijan has registered a rise of 70% in 2016 over 2015 and 33% in January-September 2017 compared with the similar period of last year,” he said.

Political and economic ties between the two countries have increased in recent years and the two sides have made serious efforts to boost mutual ties. The two countries have already prepared the ground for private sector investors to launch mutual cooperation.

Agriculture, banking, pharmaceutical and cooperation within the International North-South Transport Corridor are the main areas that the two countries are focused on.

Iranian companies have so far invested $1.2 billion, while $145 million pertained to the share of non-oil sector. Some 538 companies jointly funded by Iranians are operating in Azerbaijan.

Bus Production

The Azeri minister also said buses can be produced at the Azerbaijan-Iran Automobile Plant, being built in the Neftchala Industrial District, on the shores of Caspian Sea.

“We have started initial negotiations on this issue: In the first stage, the production of cars will start at the plant, but in the future we consider joint production of buses,” Mustafayev said.

The plant, the groundbreaking ceremony of which was held in mid 2016, is planned to operate as of December 2017.

“The building and communication lines are already ready, and we are planning to supply the factory with the equipment in November. We want the factory to be opened in December and it is likely that we will not be able to finish all the work as per the schedule. In this case, the inauguration can take place early next year,” he said.

The annual production capacity of the Azerbaijan-Iran automobile factory Azermash OJSC will reach 10,000 cars. Some 20% of the vehicles will be exported to CIS and Central Asian countries.

The project is implemented by Azerbaijani company AzEurocCar and Iranian manufacturer Iran Khodro. The plant, utilizing modern technologies, equipment and mechanisms, will manufacture cars such as Runna, Samand, Soren, Dena, Peugeot-206, Peugeot-207, Renault’s Tondar and Renault Pickup.

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