EghtesadOnline: Investments in Anzali Free Trade Zone amounted to 7.26 trillion rials ($62.7 million) during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Nov. 21), showing a 28% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
According to Amin Ofoqi, the head of Anzali Trade-Industrial Free Zone Organization's Public Relations and International Affairs Bureau, these investments were made in 63 projects, including the construction of production units, hotels and lodging centers, residential areas, recreational and service centers, as well as high-tech and knowledge-based industries, the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.
The official noted that during the same nine-month period, $31 million worth of foreign investment were made in FTZ.
The FTZ is situated in an eponymous port city in Gilan Province along the International North-South Transport Corridor, according to Financial Tribune.
A new railroad connecting the two Iranian provinces of Qazvin and Gilan was tested in November.
The newly tested route, locally known as 'Qazvin-Rasht' (the capitals of Qazvin and Gilan provinces respectively), will extend from Anzali to the border city of Astara. The Rasht-Astara stretch is a missing link in the strategic corridor.
“Qazvin-Rasht Railroad is important in that it helps complete the International North-South Transit Corridor. Some 18.5 trillion rials [$180 million] have been spent on this 164-kilometer-long project so far," Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, the head of Plan and Budget Organization, has been quoted as saying.
The official added that the project will be officially inaugurated by the president before the year is out (March 20, 2019).
"We are pursuing a bigger goal, which is the completion of the under construction 41-kilometer Rasht-Anzali Railroad … We need to connect the railroad to where cargo can be directly unloaded from ships onto train wagons."
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 and then proceed 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.
Azerbaijan agreed to provide Iran with €500 million worth of loan for completing the INSTC section leading from Iran to its border last year.
When the Rasht-Astara Railroad is completed, the cost of cargo transportation between Asia and Europe through INSTC is expected to decrease by 30%.
Makam Pedram, executive manager of the Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company, said the Qazvin-Rasht Railroad has the capacity to transport 3.38 million passengers and close to 10 million tons of cargos per year.
“Passenger trains and cargo trains can speed up to 160 kilometers per hour and 120 km/ph respectively on this railroad, which has 53 tunnels and 62 bridges, collectively stretching over 22 kilometers and 9 kilometers respectively,” he said.
More than 14 million cubic meters of embankments and 18 million cubic meters of excavation were carried out for this project, more than 40% of which were built in mountainous regions.
The construction of Qazvin-Rasht Railroad started in the fiscal 2005-06.