Iran’s Qazvin-Rasht railway to be built in 2017 (UPDATE 2)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 12

By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

Headline changed, details added (first version posted on 12:06)

Iran will commission the Qazvin-Rasht railway in 2017, Mohsen Pour Seyyed Aghaei, the head of the Iranian railways, said Jan. 12 at the "North-South international transport route: new directions, development and prospects" forum.

"The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway will begin in 2016 and finish in 2019," he said. "These railways are part of the North-South railway corridor."

"The implementation of the railway project Qazvin-Rasht-Astara requires an investment of $1.5 billion. But this project is a priority for Iranian government and we will ensure the necessary funds," he said. "Development of cargo transportation could give momentum to global economic recovery."

"Shortening of transit routes, cutting costs and providing transportation of goods in a short time can contribute to the world economy. Iran is ready to fulfil its commitments in this area," Aghaei said. "Despite the economic pressure that we are facing because of low oil prices, we have all the opportunities to implement transit projects going through Iran."

"First option - it is the joining of Iranian and Azerbaijani Astara through a railroad. Iran together with Azerbaijan has made a commitment that the process will be completed by the end of 2016. In this case, goods will be transported from Bandar Abbas to Qazvin via railway. Then they will be transported to Astara by other vehicles and then - transported via the Azerbaijani railways," Aghaei said.

The second option envisages cargo transportation via Iran's Amirabad port, he added.

"Within four months we will create the opportunity to direct the loading of goods directly on to ships at the port. Then from Amirabad th ships will be delivering the goods to Baku's Alat port and then to Georgia via railway.

Both of these options will be valid until the end of the construction of the railway Qazvin-Rasht-Astara. Completion of this project will allow transporting at least 10 million tons of cargo a year," Aghaei said.

Iran is negotiating with all relevant structures of the participating countries of the North-South corridor, he noted.

"We are also negotiating to reach an agreement on common tariffs from India to Europe. We are ready for any concessions on this issue. It is expected that sanctions against Iran will be lifted next week; it will solve the problems with bank transfers, insurance and other issues," Mohsen Pour Seyyed Aghaei said.

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