BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 25. Iran is taking steps to develop trade with Azerbaijan, Iranian Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade and Head of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI), Alireza Peymanpak said at a press conference on June 25 answering a question from Trend correspondent.
"At present, the issue of increasing the area of the Astara border checkpoint between the two countries is on the agenda. The border checkpoint is located on the North-South Corridor. In this direction a new bridge over the Astarachay is currently under construction. Because even though the Astara border checkpoint is operating at the maximum level, trucks still have to wait for several days," the minister added.
On the other hand, Iran’s Khazar Sea Shipping Lines Company is conducting discussions to purchase several new ships to increase cargo transportation between the two countries, Peymanpak noted.
According to the minister, one of the most important infrastructures for increasing trade and transit links in the North-South corridor is the Rasht-Astara railway line.
"The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line will begin at the expense of the Iranian government. At the same time, discussions were held with the Russian side, and Russia announced its readiness to invest in the construction of this railway line. The commissioning of the railway will allow solve the main problem in the North-South Corridor. Currently, the North-South Corridor is about 30 percent active. Through the corridor, cargo is transported from South East Asia and India to Middle East," he said.
The foundation of the ‘International North-South Transport Corridor’ was laid on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia, Iran, and India on September 12, 2000.
In total, 13 countries have ratified the agreement, including Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Russia, Turkey, etc.
The purpose of creating a corridor is to reduce the delivery time of cargo from India to Russia, as well as to North and West Europe. Delivery time on the current route is more than 6 weeks, it is expected to be reduced to 3 weeks via North-South Transport Corridor.
The 175 km long Qazvin-Rasht railway was officially put into operation on March 6, 2019, to connect Azerbaijani railways with the Iranian railway network within the corridor. In addition, the 167 km long Rasht-Astara railway line must be built in Iran.
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