Iran plans to increase cargo transportation weight via rail– deputy minister

Tehran, Iran, June 19

By Kamyar Eghbalnejad - Trend:

The chairman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways said the country plans to raise the weight of its annual cargo transportation via rail to 120 billion tons-kilometers in the next three years.

“Last year, the weight of the country’s cargo transportation via rail stood at 30.3 billion tons-kilometers,” Saeed Mohammadzadeh told the Trend news agency on June 19.

He added that the country needs to increase the amount to 120 billion tons-kilometers in the next three years.

The government built 1,300 kilometers of railroads across the country in 2017 from which 500 kilometers were constructed in line with developing the country’s transportation infrastructures, Mohammadzadeh further said.

Despite tight budget and little investment, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has been able to increase the share of rail in cargo transportation in Iran, setting the stage for realizing the ambitious targets set in the sixth five-year development plan (2017-22).

Currently, 12 percent of cargo transportation in Iran are carried out via rail. The share stood at 8.5 percent the year Rouhani took office (2013).

Iran's development plans outline government strategies in its budget planning for the next five years.

The plan also tasks the government with increasing the share of rail in passenger transportation to at least 20 percent by 2021.

Taking advantage of its strategic geopolitical position in the region, Iran seeks to become a hub of transportation, thereby boosting transport revenues and reducing reliance on oil that currently accounts for the lion’s share of the national income.

The government is also trying to transfer as many passengers and as much freight as possible from roads to rail to facilitate transportation, save hydrocarbon fuels and reduce air pollution.

Plans are underway to build 9,134 kilometers of railroads across the country. Track-laying of more than 3,500 kilometers of railroads is currently underway, with 540 kilometers in the final stages, according to officials with the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.

Major railroad projects in need of financing include Qazvin-Rasht (388 km), Tehran-Isfahan high-speed line (410 km), Mianeh-Tabriz (200 km), Tehran-Hamedan-Sanandaj (430 km), Shiraz-Bushehr (250 km), Gorgan-Bojnourd-Mashhad (570 km), Mianeh-Ardabil (175 km), the so-called Gharb (West) Rail project as well as electrification of Garmsar-Incheh Borun and Tehran-Mashhad lines.

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