(MENAFN - AzerNews) By Sara Israfilbayova
The Astara (Azerbaijan)-Astara (Iran) railway will be commissioned on December 25.
Director General of the International Affairs Department of the Iranian Railways Abbas Nazari said that the parties discussed issues related to customs procedures and issuing visas, as well as the conditions for using a cargo terminal in Iran's Astara.
The length of the Astara-Astara railway in Azerbaijan is eight kilometers and another two kilometers of the road runs from the border to the Iranian Astara. The project also includes the construction of a bridge on the Astarachay River.
With the commissioning of the railway section of Astara-Astara, a line under Phase-1 of the North-South International Transport Corridor in the project of connecting Azerbaijani and Iranian railways is being brought.
The leadership of Azerbaijan has provided the Iranian side with a soft loan worth $1.5 billion, which will allow starting in the first half of 2018 the construction of the 164-kilometer railway Astara-Resht (the cost of the project is estimated at $1.1 billion). The completion of Phase-2, which will allow connecting Azerbaijani and Iranian railroads, is planned for 2020.
India intends to begin container shipments through the North-South International Transport Corridor through Iran and Azerbaijan.
The North-South is a multimodal route for the transportation of passengers and goods from St. Petersburg to the port of Mumbai (India).
The main advantage of the North-South International Transport Corridor in comparison with other routes is reduction of distance and terms of delivery of goods two or three times.
The North-South transportation corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe to South-East Asia and has a strategic importance for the region. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.
At the initial stage, the North-South corridor will transport 5 million tons of cargo per year with further expansion of transportation to over 10 million tons. Along with making a great contribution to the diversification of Azerbaijan's economy the project is expected to turn the country into a major transport hub.