North-South International Transport Corridor to bring $2.5-3bn of transit income to Azerbaijan annually
Some 70 percent of the technical issues were agreed upon in the negotiations with Russia to continue the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway. Agreement on other issues will be reached by the end of the year, Azernews reports citing Kheyrulla Khademi, executive director of Iran's Transport Infrastructure Construction and Development State Company.
He said that an agreement was reached with Russia on the financing schedule of the road construction, increase of cargo transportation capacity, construction of stations, rules of operation and a document was signed.
The Rasht-Astara road, which forms the basis of the North-South International Transport Corridor, is a continuation of the Ghazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway. As a result of the formation of this corridor, which will connect Asia and Europe in terms of transport, the transit cargo transportation opportunities of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia will increase. Cargo transported from South East Asian countries will enter the port of Mumbai in India, and from there it will enter Chabahar and Bandar-Abbas ports in Iran. Cargo from these ports will be transported by train to Russia and Europe via the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway.
Mohammad Jamshidi, the deputy head of Iran's Presidential Administration, said in an interview with the local media outlets news agency that the income of the North-South International Transport Corridor will be equal to the income from oil sales. According to him, the annual income of the Corridor will be 20 billion dollars.
Iranian local media outlets called the Corridor the "golden road of trade" and noted that the 162-kilometer Rasht-Astara road will facilitate cargo transportation between Russia and India. It is no coincidence that Russia invested 1.6 billion euros in the construction of this road.
To note that Azerbaijan is a country that plays a key role as a transit country in the formation of the North-South Transport Corridor. Taking into account the passage of this Corridor through Azerbaijan, the state has implemented large infrastructure projects. In addition to increasing the loading capacity of the Baku International Trade port, the Alat-Astara highway was reconstructed. A new railway bridge between Iran Astara and Azerbaijan Astara was built and put into use, the construction of a new road bridge over Astarachay has already been completed and will be put into operation in the near future with the participation of the officials of both states. In addition to all this, Azerbaijan State Railways JSC continues the construction of a cargo terminal in Astara, Iran.
The fact that Azerbaijan has railroads and roads with Russia since the time of the USSR made its transit opportunities efficient. The fact that the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev involved Azerbaijan in the process of forming the North-South International Transport Corridor in 2006 indicated his visionary strategic political line. According to experts' calculations, after the North-South International Transport Corridor starts operating, Azerbaijan will receive 2.5-3 billion dollars in transit revenue per year.
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