North–South Transport Corridor
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The International North–South Transport Corridor is the ship, rail, and road route for moving freight from India to Europe through Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia. The route primarily involves moving freight from India to Iran by ship; from Iran to Armenia and Georgia by rail and road; and from Georgia to Russia and Europe. In September 2000, the Inter-governmental Agreement on International North-South Transport Corridor was signed in Saint Petersburg between India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Sultanate of Oman, and the Russian Federation.
In 2011, Iran and Russia agreed to make every effort to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in road, rail, air and marine transportation. In 2012, Rasia FZE was awarded the Armenia-Iran railway project and the southern section of the North-South Road Corridor, which will complete the key missing link in the International North–South Transport Corridor.
Armenia-Iran Railway Concession (Southern Armenia Railway or North-South Railway Corridor)
On July 28, 2012, a concession agreement was awarded to Dubai-based Rasia FZE (a Rasia Group investment company) for the feasibility, design, financing, construction and operation of a new railway link between Armenia and Iran having an operating period of 30 years, with a right of extension for another 20 years. The Armenia-Iran railway is called the Southern Armenia Railway project, which forms the key missing link in the International North-South Transport Corridor between the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. Prior to the feasibility study being completed, the Southern Armenia Railway was anticipated to be a 316 km railway linking Gavar, 50 km east of Yerevan near Lake Sevan, with the Iranian border near Meghri.
On 24 January 2013, during an announcement and press conference, the previously signed concession agreement was announced and a separate tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed in Yerevan by Rasia FZE, Russian Railways (RZD) subsidiary South Caucasus Railway, and the government of the Republic of Armenia concerning technical cooperation, investment, and the future operation of the Southern Armenia Railway. Rasia FZE announced its appointment of China Communications Construction Company as the "lead member of the development consortium" for the project and the commencement of the feasibility study.
Following a meeting on 3 September 2013 with Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation stated that Russian Railways can invest about RUB 15 billion in the development of the Armenian Railway.
In mid-September 2013, Rasia FZE announced in a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan the achievement of a key milestone for the Southern Armenia Railway, including the release of a highly favorable feasibility study and the recommended railway design route from China Communications Construction Company. Having reached this key milestone, Rasia FZE moved to secure essential regional cooperation for the financing, construction and operation stages of the project. The feasibility study results indicated that the Southern Armenia Railway would cost approximately US $3.5 billion to construct, have a length of 305 kilometers from Gagarin to Agarak, and provide a base operating capacity of 25 million tons per annum. The railway will have 84 bridges spanning 19.6 kilometers and 60 tunnels of 102.3 kilometers, comprising 40% of the total project length.
As the key missing link in the International North-South Transport Corridor, the Southern Armenia Railway would create the shortest transportation route from the ports of the Black Sea to the ports of the Persian Gulf. The Southern Armenia Railway would establish a major commodities transit corridor between Europe and the Persian Gulf region, based on traffic volume forecasts of 18.3 million tons per annum. At completion of railway construction and commencement of operations, transport costs and times for the region are expected to improve substantially, fostering greater regional trade and economic growth with extraordinary direct benefits for the Armenian economy including an alleviation of the economic pressures caused by the blockade against Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Astara port inaugurated
On 10/03/2013 Iran inaugurated the Astara port located South West of the Caspian Sea. The new Astara port was a joint venture between a private company and Iran State port and maritime organisation reported by Prestv. Iran has invested 22 million dollars in the port and plan to increase investment by 10% to expand the port. The Current capacity is 600,000 tons but there is plans to increase this to 3 million tons.(CIS) Common Wealth of Independent States are the main producers of grains which will be exported to Africa through Iran bandar abbas port. The port will allow Russian goods to reach inland provinces of Iran faster and cheaper. Product from Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakistan, Turkmenistan can be sent to India through Iran's Bandar Abbas port which is the fastest way to reach India.
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