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Talks continue on North-South railway: Azerbaijan's transport minister

Business Materials 18 December 2009 20:02 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, December 18 / Trend , E.Ismaylov /

The project to create North-South railway between Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran is under talks, Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov said on Dec. 18.

"In general, currently talks continue over North-South railway project," said Mammadov.

According to Mammadov, within the project, Azerbaijan should build approximately 8.5 kilometers of the railway. "There are no problems from our side. When Iran begins to approach construction to Astara (Iran), we are ready to begin laying the railroad from our Astara to the border," said Mammadov.

The Azerbaijani side has already carried out all the necessary preparatory work, the minister said.
Also suggestion was made that Azerbaijan builds a railway stretch, which will allow to overload goods on vehicles on the territory of Iran and thus transport them, Mammadov said.

"Our position is that we have a railway facility up to the city of Astara, goods are sent there. If the Iranians would be interested in doing so, they can pick up cargo from the railway station in Astara (Azerbaijan) with their own cars," Mammadov added.

The North-South transport corridor envisages unified railway transportation from Europe to India and Southeast Asia via Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. According to preliminary estimates, the project will cost over $400 million and much work should be done in Iran, which has no rail link to the border with Azerbaijan. Certain work worth about $35-40 million should be conducted in Azerbaijan.

The work to be conducted in Azerbaijan envisages constructing about 8.5 kilometers railway station to the Astara station (Azerbaijan), having a wheel pair change system, border and customs infrastructure. It is also necessary to build a border railway bridge. However, this project will be implemented on a parity basis with Iran.

It is forecasted goods transportation via this corridor will be 5 million tons per year in the first stage and further it is planned to increase to 10-15 million.

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