Russia to open way to south for Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 17
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
Azerbaijan has a very advantageous geographic location. This opens up great opportunities for the country to develop trade relations with neighboring countries and to implement its own transit potential. The country's further participation in the development of transport corridors, in particular, the "North-South" corridor, will contribute to the development of this potential.
"North-South" international transport corridor is a multimodal passenger and cargo transportation route with a total length of 7,200 kilometers from St. Petersburg to the port of Mumbai (Bombay). It was created to attract transit cargo flows from India, Iran and other countries of the Persian Gulf to the Russian territory (via the Caspian Sea) and farther to the Northern and Western Europe.
Azerbaijan and Iran are cooperating in the railway connection project between the two countries as part of this corridor. The Iranian side must construct the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway to connect the railways of Azerbaijan and Iran.
Currently, cargo and passenger transportation between Azerbaijan and Iran is carried out by the road transport. After the implementation of this project, it will be possible to carry out these operations via the railway and as a result, the cargo transportation between the two neighboring countries will increase.
This railway line is of great importance for the development of the North-South international transport corridor. Its commodity market is estimated at over 20 million metric tons per year. The considerable part of the North-South corridor runs through the Russian railways.
The construction of a 205 kilometers long Qazvin-Rasht railway section has already been completed. Its capacity will be equal to 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million metric tons of cargo per year, according to the preliminary estimates.
Russian and Iranian sides intend to jointly construct the Rasht-Astara (Iran) railway. The construction work will be financed by the Russian side on the basis on the agreement reached with Iran.
The Russian Railways JSC intends to construct and electrify the Iranian railway running to Azerbaijan.
Earlier, the Russian Railways Head Vladimir Yakunin said the project for creation of a railway along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as part of the International North-South Transport Corridor remains relevant, given the plans of Azerbaijan and Iran.
This project covers three countries [Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran] and a roadmap has already been prepared for its implementation.
The project's realization will start following the signing of the needed bilateral agreement between Russia and Iran.
Azerbaijan, for its part, will finance and carry out the construction of a border railway bridge between the Iranian and Azerbaijani namesake cities of Astara. Azerbaijan will also finance the laying of a branch stretching eight kilometres on its territory.
Despite the fact that in recent years the popularity of railway transport is reducing, the implementation of new railway projects and development of transport corridors will increase its significance.
Railway transport has a number of advantages. In particular, it is characterized by a relatively free placement, reliability, regularity, versatility regardless of the time of year, day and weather conditions.
Considering the above mentioned facts, joining of Azerbaijani and Iranian railways offers great prospects. In particular, this project will allow Azerbaijan to ensure variety of routes for transportation of goods and passengers, expand the transit potential of the country, increase the role and importance of the country in international transport corridors, as well as increase the level of trade turnover with the neighboring countries.