EghtesadOnline: One of the main issues on the agenda of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Iran, which ended on March 5, was the project of the International North-South Transport Corridor, which is jointly implemented by Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran.
The corridor is important not only for the countries involved in its implementation, but also for the entire region.
It is no coincidence that while making statements to the media after signing documents with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Aliyev called this project a historical development, reads a report posted by Trend news agency.
Azerbaijan is interested in the project’s implementation, because the country is located at the intersection of two major international transport corridors–from north to south and east to west—and plays the strategic role of a bridge between the two civilizations, Financial Tribune reported.
The proposal for establishing the corridor, which was made more than 15 years ago, is becoming more tangible and gaining momentum.
Thus, an 8.3-kilometer section of the railroad from Astara in Azerbaijan to the border with Iran and a border railroad bridge over Astarachay River were built in 2016.
President Aliyev’s visit took place just a day after the first test train was launched on the border railroad bridge over Astarachay River, which marked the successful commissioning of this facility.
The 82.5-meter long and 11.8-meter wide bridge was built and commissioned in less than a year. Its construction is evidence of how the North-South project, which finally connects Azerbaijani, Iranian and Russian railroads, is making headway.
A 600-meter section has already been laid on the Iranian side. Work is now being carried out at an accelerated pace there. In particular, a railroad station and a terminal for transshipment of cargo are being constructed in an area of 35 hectares. Earthwork is being carried out and drainage systems are being built in the area.
Aliyev noted that the North-South project makes a significant contribution to regional cooperation, as the number of trilateral formats is now increasing in the region.
The project will also provide an important impetus for the development of the economies of the three main participating countries. Other countries will also join the project, which will increase trade between Northern Europe and Southeast Asia. In particular, Ukraine and Estonia have already expressed interest in joining the corridor.
The corridor is forecast to operate at full capacity and create opportunities for Russia, European, Caucasian and Central Asian countries to access the Persian Gulf states and India, and intensify trade relations between the Caspian littoral countries and Black Sea ports.