Russian Railways is interested in taking part in implementation of the Rasht-Astara railway project of Azerbaijan and Iran, First Vice President of Russian Railways Alexander Misharin said.
“Russian Railways has repeatedly expressed interest – including at my recent meeting with the Iranian Railways deputy head Ahmad Khodaei – to participate in implementation of the project both in terms of supply of materials for track structure and other possible aspects”, Misharin noted.
He said different funding schemes were proposed for Rasht-Astara railway’s construction, including creation of a joint tripartite enterprise.
“Later, the proposals had transformed into joint implementation of necessary feasibility work, financial and legal assessment of the project through signing of a contract between Russian, Azerbaijani and Iranian railway administrations and an independent engineering company”, Misharin said.
He noted that Iranian and Azerbaijani sides had already agreed on construction of a railway bridge over the Astarachay River and a transshipment terminal in Iran’s Astara for more efficient cargo transportation across Iranian-Azerbaijani border.
Construction of the railway bridge over the Astarachay Rriver started in April 2016.
“As far as we know, a possible interstate loan by the Azerbaijani side to the Islamic Republic of Iran for construction of the Iranian section of Rasht-Astara is being currently considered”, Misharin said.
The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway comes as part of a larger project to create the North-South transportation corridor.
The North-South transportation corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link for connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.
At the initial stage, it is planned to transport 5 million tons of cargo via the North-South corridor per year and to increase the figure to over 10 million tons in the future. (Trend/Business World Magazine)