All Go For International Railway Corridor

All Go For International Railway Corridor

Global News Wire – Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
Africa Analysis
April 16, 2004

Russia will supply expertise and investment for a major railway network
that should link eastern and northern Europe with India through Iran.
This North-South international transport corridor has been on the
drawing board for some time and will be formally launched next year.

Russia, Iran and India established the concept of the transport corridor
and have so far been joined officially by Kazakhstan and Belarus. There
are ongoing talks with Oman, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Syria,
Sweden, Finland and Bulgaria, all of which are already known to have
shown an interest.

Several other countries are also keen to link into, and support, what
promises to be one of the major freight corridors anywhere. Official
estimates put north-south freight at up to 50m tonnes a year by 2010.

The latest commitment by Russia comes after a meeting in Iran between
Iranian transport minister Ahmad Khorram and Russian Railways company
president Gennady Fadeyev . Russian Railways is also involved in
bilateral discussions with the Iranian government about the building of
several rail lines in Iran.

Rail traffic between the two countries has increased dramatically over
the past year and, once the international corridor is formed, should
double in 2005. The 4m tonnes of freight estimated to be carried between
Iran and Russia this year should rise to 8m tonnes.

Iran, which is spending large sums on the development of its ports, sees
itself as a hub for North-South traffic, providing port facilities to
service the Asia-Pacific region.