Iran's big plans on corridors, railways and transportation (exclusive)

Business Materials 26 July 2016 08:00 (UTC +04:00)
Plans and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways are focused on establishing new routes, especially the routes which complete corridors
Iran's big plans on corridors, railways and transportation (exclusive)

Tehran, Iran, July 26

By Mehdi Sepahvand, Dalga Khatinoglu – Trend:

Plans and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways in the Hassan Rouhani Administration are focused on establishing new routes, especially the routes which complete corridors, Hossein Ashoori, vice president of operation and international transportation of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways told Trend.

He said that the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railroad project, which completes the North-South Corridor, is a prioritized plan.

"Other projects include the railway connecting Iran to Afghanistan, which hopefully to come on stream by the end of the current Iranian fiscal year (ends on March 2017). Also, a new railway is planned to be established from Mianeh city to Bostanabad city to make a shortcut along the Tehran-Ankara route," Ashouri added.

Ashoori said that some of the projects inside the country are important in terms of cargo transportation.

Iran approves 40% discount on Nakhchivan-Persian Gulf cargo transit fees

Iran approves 40% discount on Nakhchivan-Persian Gulf cargo transit fees

"Electrification of Tehran-Mashhad railway as well as construction of the Tehran-Isfahan high-speed railway are among these projects which are underway and hoped to be inaugurated within the next few years."

Iran increases railway transits

Regarding the operations, Ashoori said that Iran Railways set targets three years ago to increase both national and international cargo transportation.

"Cargo transport rose by 10 percent in the current year. Although imports via the rail network dropped this year, the exports rose by 60 percent. Currently, the highest volume of cargo is transited via the Sarakhs-Bandarabbas route," he said.

As per agreements with railways of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia, we are making attempts to activate the North-South, the Persian Gulf-Black Sea, and the Tehran-Ankara corridors," Ashoori said.

Considering the economic recession in the world, which has reduced prices of goods and raw materials sharply and has decreased demand for transport, competition among producers has been intensified, said the official.

Ashoori said that the transport sector can help producers greatly through reducing prices and in recent years, both producers and buyers have increased demands for reducing rail transport prices.

"We have been trying to offer discount prices to cargo owners. For example, we offered 15-40 percent discounts to Central Asian routes based on type and volume of cargoes. the highest discount for the Sarakhs-Bandarabbas route was 35 percent, while the discount in the Sarakhs-Mirjaveh route, through which cargoes are transited to Pakistan, is up to 40 percent. A similar agreement was made regarding the North-South Corridor between Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia".

The North-South transportation corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe to South-East Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

Currently Iran should complete Rasht-Astara sector for completion of the corridor. By that time, which was estimated to take about 3-4 years, the participant countries would carry the cargoes by combined transportation way.

At the initial stage, the North-South corridor will transport 5 million tons of cargo with further expansion of transportation to over 10 million tons.

Iran increases train speeds

By the last year, cargo trains were allowed to move at a maximum 60 km/h speed in Iran. The maximum speed for passenger trains was 160 km/hr.

"We approved a plan to raise the maximum speed for cargo trains to 90 km/hr. this requires boosting infrastructures and improve traffic control systems. For instance, necessary works were done along the Sarakhs-Bandarabbas route and after doing required tests, cargo trains were allowed to raise speed to 90 km/h," Ashoori said.

Ashoori added that in the international transport section, meetings were held with officials from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan railways regarding the corridor from China to Tehran.

"We announced our readiness to work on reducing the transport time from the currently 14 days to 12 days, one day of which is related to the Iranian railways and the other is related to overseas railways," he explained.

Railway issue on Rouhani's agenda in Baku trip

Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia's presidents are scheduled to meet on August 8 in Baku.

Ashoori said that during presidential meetings, part of the negotiations is naturally regarding previous agreements, including the railways.

"The completion the North-South Corridor is one of the main issues Iran is interested to be discussed and finalized during trilateral meetings of presidents. Moreover, there are some other grounds for investment in the rail sector. Some projects have been introduced to Azerbaijan and Russia and we are looking forward to their final viewpoints".