EghtesadOnline: Participants in the International North-South Transport Corridor Friendship Motor Rally are to be welcomed in Tehran on Tuesday by Iranian officials along with the Russian, Azeri and Indian ambassadors to Iran on their return journey, the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development reported.
The welcoming ceremony has been organized by the Touring and Automobile Club of Iran.
The rally drivers arrived at the Iranian border city of Astara on Monday. After passing through Rasht, they will arrive in Tehran.
They will pass through Yazd, Kerman and Chabahar on the route back. The rally will end in the Iranian territory on June 3, from where it will proceed to its final destination in India, according to Financial Tribune.
The event, initiated by India, started in New Delhi. It was flagged off in Iran at Bandar Abbas on April 29. The route forth from Bandar Abbas to St. Petersburg and the route back from St Petersburg to Chabahar cover 5,000 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers respectively.
"Drivers from Iran, India, Russia and Azerbaijan are taking part in the rally to help promote the corridor to their respective nations as well as to the world," the director of International Corridors Bureau affiliated with the Roads Ministry told Financial Tribune.
Amin Taraffo added that 18 cars are competing in the rally. Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan each have one car and the remaining 15 cars belong to Indian teams. Competitors are professional rally drivers.
The official noted that the event could serve as a prelude to the INSTC Ministers Forum scheduled for late September in Tehran.
The INSTC project, according to Taraffo, has three original founders, namely India, Iran and Russia. The contract for the project was signed in May 2002 by these countries.
Today, INSTC features the founding countries, as well as Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Ukraine and Syria as main member states and Bulgaria as an observer member.
INSTC is a major transit route designed to facilitate the transportation of goods from Mumbai in India to Helsinki in Finland, using Iranian ports and railroads, which the Islamic Republic plans to connect to those of Azerbaijan and Russia.
The corridor will connect Iran with Russia’s Baltic ports and give Russia rail connectivity to both the Persian Gulf and the Indian rail network.
This means goods could be carried from Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and further to Baku. They could then pass across the Russian border into Astrakhan before proceeding to Moscow and St. Petersburg, before entering Europe.
INSTC would substantially cut the travel time for everything from Asian consumer goods to Central Eurasia’s natural resources to advanced European exports.
The multimodal route is estimated to reduce the time and cost of transportation of goods between India and Europe from 40 to 15 days. The corridor is said to have the potential of diverting up to 10 million tons of India-Europe trade to the route.