Baku, Azerbaijan, March 29
By Anvar Mammadov – Trend:
The Astara-Rasht railway, to be constructed in Iran based on an agreement signed yesterday, will become one of the key links in the North-South transport corridor, Akif Mustafayev, national secretary and member of the Governmental Commission for Development of TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia), told Trend on March 29.
"The main goal of the North-South transport corridor is to provide Russia and countries of Northern Europe with direct railway access to the Persian Gulf. This is impossible without the creation of a railway link between Iran's Astara and Rasht. Today, cargoes delivered to Iran from Russia via railways are transported by road on this part of the route, which causes a loss of time due to unloading and loading of goods. Thus, the construction of this railway actually allows us create a single railway route within the North-South transport corridor," Mustafayev said.
He pointed to Azerbaijan's contribution to the construction of the Astara-Rasht railway as another important factor.
"As you know, Azerbaijan will allocate $500 million for implementation of this project, although Iran is not a poor country. Thus, Azerbaijan contributes to implementation of this project. In addition, a railway station will be built in the territory of Iran's Astara. It will cost $60 million, which will be paid by Azerbaijan. The significance of this station is that it will be transferred to Azerbaijan's management for 15 years. And this is exactly those 15 years which will see a growth in cargo transportation along the North-South corridor," Mustafayev said.
Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Minister of Economy and Finance of Iran Masood Karbasian signed the "Agreement between Azerbaijan and Iran on Financing the Construction of the Astara-Rasht railway in the Territory of Iran” at a ceremony with participation of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Iran Hassan Rouhani in Baku on March 28.
The Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railroad is a part of the North-South transport corridor that will connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia, including by uniting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.
The cargo will pass through the territory of India and further through the Persian Gulf, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia towards the Scandinavian states and Northern Europe in just 14 days.