1147 GMT February 22, 2020
Director General of International Affairs Department of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (IRIR) Abbas Nazari said that the parties discussed issues pertaining to customs procedures and issuance of visas, as well as the conditions for using a cargo terminal in Iran's Astara, Azernews reported.
Astara-Astara railway stretches eight kilometers in Azerbaijan and another two kilometers of the rail line runs from the border to Astara in Iran. The project also includes the construction of a bridge on the Astarachay River.
The commissioning of the Astara-Astara railway section will make Phase 1 of the North-South International Transport Corridor in the railway sector operational.
Azerbaijan leadership has made available a soft loan worth $1.5 billion to the Iranian side permitting the construction of the 164-kilometer railway Astara-Rasht (at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion) to start in the first half of 2018.
The completion of Phase 2, which will link 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 in distance and terms of delivery of goods two or three times.
The North-South transportation corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe to Southeast Asia and has a strategic importance for the region. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.
In the initial stage, the North-South corridor will transport five million tons of cargo per year which will be expanded to over 10 million tons. In addition to making a great contribution to the diversification of Azerbaijan's economy, the project is expected to turn the country into a major transport hub.