0701 GMT October 18, 2019
Younes Ranjkesh said that in the first phase of the operation, a 600-meter rail track was laid while grounds are being prepared for the second phase, which will complete the project in the Iranian side, reported IRNA.
Iran-Azerbaijan railroad is part of a larger national development project called the North-South International Transport Corridor which is to be used for the transfer of goods and passengers.
On completion, the Iran-Azerbaijan railroad project will link Iran to the Eurasian market. The corridor will connect the railroads of Azerbaijan and Iran, which in turn will provide a wider transport connection between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, Indian Railways announced on Friday that it is exploring the possibility of a transcontinental rail freight service connecting India to Iran and Turkey.
Considered to be a major boost for trade and economic development of the Asia-Pacific region, a trans-container goods train will run from from Dhaka to Istanbul covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.
Even though Bhutan and Afghanistan do not currently have rail connectivity, Bhutan can be connected by road from Kolkata and in Afghanistan containers can be loaded by connecting road routes with the railway network at Quetta.
Codenamed the 'ITI-DKD' route, the ambitious international project covering about 6,000 km aims to significantly reduce the currently high tariff and non-tariff costs to trade between these countries.
Taking the lead in the intraregional freight transport, Indian Railways has convened a meeting of South Asian railway heads involved in the project on March 15-16.
There are various conferences and feasibility studies conducted by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on rail network connecting Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.
ESCAP has identified Dhaka–Kolkata–Delhi–Amritsar– Lahore–Islamabad–Zahedan–Tehran–Istanbul as the possible rail route, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The ITI-DKD route has the strategic advantage of connecting the capitals of these countries.
According to the railways, a demonstration container train between Bangladesh and India has been planned in the first quarter of 2017-18, the modalities for which have been agreed by senior Railway officials of both countries.