Iran to weld Europe-Asia railway axis
Oct 24, 2016: A meeting of Iranian, Georgian, Azerbaijani, and German railway officials was held aiming to develop rail transit between Europe and Asian through Iran. Mohsen PourseyyedAghaei, the President of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI), opened the meeting by reporting on successful accomplishment of experimental goods transfer via India-Iran-Russia route and stated “the containers reached destination within 22 days indicating that all transit barriers on Iran’s corridor have been removed.” MamukaBakhtadze, General Director of Georgian Railways, for his part said his company, in collaboration with Azerbaijan Republic, has embarked on a project which aims to transfer European containers as of November. “A German firm is negotiating with owners of commodities in order to carry their cargos from Constantinople in Georgia to Azerbaijan and later to Tehran via sea in the second half of November,” he continued. The official went on to note that Georgia is looking for venues to expand the route hence the importance attached to development of Amirabad port as well as the efforts to remove duties on trucks passing through Azerbaijan to Astara. Also at the meeting, Andre Hempel, Managing Director of Trans Eurasia Logistics (TEL), said talks have been launched with Romanian firms and will later begin with Polish firms; “the ultimate goal, however, is to encourage German customers to carry chemical products and other types of goods.” “Transit time holds great significance and customers’ attention can be attracted if the time is slashed,” underlined Hempel. He noted that the transit process can be accomplished within seven days although it could last for one more day longer if customs document need further clarification. Iran’s railway chief reassured that no limitation exists on supplying and organizing trucks to carry containers in Astara as 40 to 41 trucks will be deployed in accordance with envisaged timetables. Also speaking at the quartet meeting, JavidGurbanov, Chairman of Azerbaijan Railways, reiterated that the Caspian Sea is replete with cargo and passenger vessels for maritime transport calling for more attention to Astara as a hub for goods transit. “The main source of delay in container transit is that Thursdays and Fridays are the weekend in Iran though they are considered as weekdays in other states,” underscored the official recommending that Iran runs customs services on these two days. PourseyyedAghaei promised that the holiday issue between Iran and Azerbaijan will be resolved by having customs administrations work 24/7 given the similar conditions present at Sarakhs border.” Following an agreement on transit duties, the Iranian side voiced readiness to join the unified tariff and discount plan. Iranian and Azerbaijani sides also agreed to reach a final deal on the cost of transshipment for which a draft contract will be prepared.