Azerbaijan, Iran agree on financing as part of railway project (exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 6
By Temkin Jafarov, Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to finance the construction of the Astara (Iran) Astara (Azerbaijan) railway line and railway connection between the two countries as part of the North-South international transport corridor, Abbas Nazari, the head of the international transport department of the Iranian State Railway, told Trend exclusively.
He said that the financing would be one of the important tasks of the working group established to accelerate the work on the railway line construction.
"The length of this railway section is 10 kilometers," he said. "Some 8 kilometers of them pass through the territory of Azerbaijan, 2 kilometers - via the territory of Irand. It is necessary to build a railway bridge on the border between the two countries to connect these roads. The cargo from Azerbaijan will be transported to the terminal in the territory of Iran's Astara, thence transported to Qazvin. The cargo will be transported by railway from Qazvin to the Persian Gulf countries and in the opposite direction."
"The construction of an eight-kilometer Azerbaijani section of this railway will be financed by Azerbaijan, a two-kilometer Iranian section by Iran," he said. "The bridge construction will be jointly financed. The exact amount of investments is unknown. But according to the international experience, about $2 million are spent per kilometer. Totally, an investment amount will hit $20 million."
He said that the working group would also consider the financing of the Rasht-Astara section construction.
"It was decided that the working group will analyze the ways to provide construction financing and the completion of the Rasht-Astara project and accelerate the work," said Nazari. "It is not known whether the project will be funded by the government, banks or credit institutions, no meetings have been held in this regard."
He went on to add that work on the Qazvin-Rasht section also nears completion.
"This section will be commissioned in about a year and a half," Nazari said. "Once the issue of funding is finally resolved, the work on the Rasht-Astara site will begin. The length of this site is about 175 kilometers, its construction will take up to three years. The entire Qazvin-Rasht-Astara site is a strategically important route. The construction of this road was planned in Soviet times," said Nazari.
He said that the opening of the corridor will make it possible to decrease terms of transportation of goods from Russia to India more than twice.
"If cargo transportation from Russia to India by sea takes 45 days, this time period will be reduced to 20 days after the launch of the corridor," said Nazari. "In addition, the project will make it possible to obtain more than 30-percent gain in economic terms, since in spite of the fact that marine transportations are cheaper, rail transportation costs will fall due to reduction in distance. The will of all the parties involved in the project is needed for its implementation."
The North-South transport corridor will connect Northern Europe to South-East Asia. It will serve as a bridge to connect the railways of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.
According to preliminary estimates, its capacity will be 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million metric tones of cargo a year. Around 22 tunnels and 15 bridges will be built throughout the railway. Around 15 tunnels have already been constructed.
The volume of cargo transportation through the corridor will amount to 6 million metric tons in the initial stage and will reach 15-20 million metric tons in the future.
Edited by CN