0603 GMT January 22, 2018
The Hind says in a report that Indian traders may in the near future choose to send their containerized cargo to Russia through the International North-South Transport Corridor that starts from Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas, moves up toward Azerbaijan by rail and thereon to St Petersburg.
As evidenced by a trial run by Indian freight forwarders early this year, multi-modal operations may reduce the travelling time between St. Petersburg and Mumbai to 20 days — exactly half the all-sea travel time. The inter-continental rail link should reduce the time to 14 days, added The Hindu.
The cost of transportation is estimated at $3,000 for a 40-foot container, lower than the $4,000 sea freight. The actual cost will be known once the operation starts and the participating nations decide on concessions.
The project will not only be useful for Iran to import food and consumables from Russia directly to the consumption centers in North Iran but will also help attract investment, particularly from India, added the daily in its report.
Also, the connectivity will grant Russia easier access and a strategic foothold in West Asian markets.
The project will be a key topic in the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan in Baku in early August. This was announced on Wednesday by Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ibrahim Rahimpour.
"The agenda will mostly deal with the North-South Transport Corridor, that is, the transit transportation [of goods] from the Persian Gulf to Russia," Rahimpour has been quoted by Interfax as saying.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will also discuss trade and economic relations, regional security, and measures against terrorism, Rahimpour added.