Iran, Kazakhstan Seal Key Transportation Deal
Iran and Kazakhstan have signed an agreement to establish a joint dual-modal transportation company that could lead to the creation of a new transport corridor connecting Iran’s southern ports to the upper parts of Central Asia – and even possibly Russia and China.
The agreement was signed between the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) and Kazakhstan’s KTZ Express – a subsidiary of the country’s national railways company – Kazakhstan Railways.
This took place on the sidelines of a state visit by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to Kazakhstan.
The agreement is meant to facilitate sea transportation in the Caspian Sea, cooperation between Iran and Kazakhstan in ports and terminals issues, and connect Iran’s southern ports to Kazakhstan as well as other Central Asian countries, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported.
It can also facilitate cooperation between Tehran and Astana over the construction of port terminals as well as mutual investments by the two countries in the area of port facilities, the agency added.
Iran is already working on a similar multi-modal transportation project that originates in Russia and ends in India.
The project – the North–South Transport Corridor (NSTC) – involves ship, rail and road routes and is meant to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Moscow, Astrakhan, Baku, Tehran, Bandar Abbas and Mumbai.
Dry runs of the route were conducted in 2014 from Mumbai to Baku and Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas. Results showed transport costs will be 30 percent cheaper and transportation duration will be 40 percent shorter than the existing routes.
During his stay in Astana, Iran’s President Rouhani signed several memoranda of understanding with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The concerned cooperation in areas such as tourism, banking, transportation and the job market.