Baku, Azerbaijan, June 13
By Matanat Nasibova – Trend:
The North-South International Transport Corridor is at the initial stage of implementation, but it retains its relevance in the current realities from the point of view of railway freight traffic management, Russian economist Alexander Karavayev told Trend News Agency during the Moscow-Baku video conference entitled “North-South Transport Corridor: regional integration prospects".
The expert stressed that the idea of connecting partner-countries to the transport corridor has become more relevant from the point of view of trans-regional cooperation.
“Meanwhile, the first and main element in the implementation of this project is the development of relations in the Baku-Moscow-Tehran triangle,” Karavayev said.
“I think that the main trends of cooperation of the three countries in the field of transport and the issue of the need to implement a large-scale project that determines the prospects for regional and international cooperation between its participants will be considered during the upcoming summit in the trilateral format to be held in Moscow in August,” he said.
“Obviously, there is interest of the parties in the implementation of the project and in the regional countries’ entering the foreign markets," the expert added.
The North-South International Transport Corridor has originated in the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member-states. However, within the possibilities of the CIS free trade zones, Azerbaijan may allow this transport corridor enter Turkey through the South Caucasus.
The Iranian direction of the project will also be implemented through the capabilities of Azerbaijan via the Rasht-Astara-Qazvin railway. Thus, Azerbaijan will become the key hub of the North-South International Transport Corridor, which will greatly expand the country's logistics and infrastructure capabilities.
The International North–South Transport Corridor is designed for the transportation of goods from India and the countries of the Persian Gulf to Russia, Western Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia.
If cargo transportation by sea through the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea to Helsinki takes 45-60 days, then the delivery time along the "North-South" corridor will take 20-25 days.
Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia signed an agreement in 2005 on the construction of 375 km long railway segments in Iran between Astara and the Azerbaijan-Iran border, as well as the reconstruction of an existing railway in Azerbaijan to develop transportation in this area.
The Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway project envisages the construction of a new railway line in Iran, which will connect the Azerbaijani city of Astara to the Iranian cities of Astara, Rasht and Qazvin.
The video conference was organized by the representative office of the North-South political science center in Baku, Trend News Agency and Caspian Expert Club.