EghtesadOnline: A total of 5.1 million tons of commodities were transported by the rail network since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 20), which indicates a 4% year-on-year increase, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways said on Wednesday.
“Wheat accounted for more than 168,000 tons of the total sum. The figure registers an eightfold increase year-on-year,” Saeed Rasouli was also quoted as saying by ILNA.
Notably, a total of 18,000 tons of goods worth more than $41 million were exported from Razi border crossing in West Azarbaijan’s Khoy County via 813 cargo wagons during the first month of the current Iranian year (March 20-April 19), showing a sevenfold and 20-fold rise in tonnage and value respectively compared with the similar period of last year.
“Razi is the only border crossing between Iran and Turkey, which has not been closed down due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. All health protocols are being meticulously followed and a disinfection station has been set up at the border so trade between the two sides can continue without a problem,” Superintendent of Razi Rail Customs Administration Seifollah Rasi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The main exported items were polyethylene, urea, copper ingots and watermelons.
“Some 30,000 tons of goods worth around $40 million were transited through Razi border via 1,400 freight wagons over the same period, registering a 2.5-fold increase in weight year-on-year.”
Rasi added that since the virus outbreak two months ago, the border crossing has been working round the clock.
Passenger and freight rail transport could see up to 5,050 billion rials ($31.5 million) and 1,000 billion rials ($6.2 million) in losses by June 20 due to the spread of coronavirus, Mehrdad Taqizadeh, the secretary of Iran’s Guild of Rail Transport Companies, has been quoted as saying.
“Iran’s rail fleet consists of 2,089 passenger cars, 25,398 freight wagons and 1,000 locomotives,” Mohsen Sadeqi, a civil engineer in charge of the Economic Evaluation Office at the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, said last year.
The number of passengers using suburban train services has increased from three million in the fiscal 2014-15 to seven million last year (March 2018-19). From the fiscal 2011-12 forward, rail freight transport has seen close to a 50% growth, improving from 33 million tons then to around 50 million tons of freight per annum in recent years.
New Rolling Stock Joins Rail Fleet
A total of 56 units of domestically-made and renovated rolling stock worth 1.25 trillion rials ($7.81 million) joined Iran's rail fleet in a ceremony held last week, which was attended by Roads Minister Mohammad Eslami.
"The new units include 50 cargo and two passenger wagons, two new and two renovated locomotives, all of which were made during the first month of the current Iranian year,” Saeed Rasouli, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, was quoted as saying by the ministry’s news portal.
The official added that rolling stock production during the period under review registered a 143% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
Iranian rolling stock manufacturer Wagon Pars will be making 20 passenger wagons for RAJA Railway Transportation Company as part of a contract signed between the two companies in January.
Wagon Pars CEO Mohammad Reza Mokhtari has said the manufacture of wagons will begin in May.
"If we are duly provided with the financial resources, all 20 passenger wagons will be completed and delivered to RAJA by the end of the next Iranian year [March 20, 2022],” the official was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
He added that the price of each passenger wagon manufactured by Wagon Pars will stand at 75 billion rials (€428,571) and the total value of wagons to be built as part of the agreement will stand at €8.57 million.
Mokhtari noted that the company aims to produce 500 wagons by the current fiscal yearend (March 20, 2021).
Mohammad Rajabi, CEO of RAJA Railway Transportation Compant, said that it’s not the first time Raja has placed orders with Wagon Pars and contracts have been renewed in view of the high quality of their products.
Wagon Pars, launched in 1974 in the city of Arak in Markazi Province, is a subsidiary of the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran and the largest manufacturer of freight, passenger and subway wagons in the Middle East.
RAJA was established in November 1996 as a subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways with the aim of improving the quality and scope of railroad passenger services. It was transferred to the Tourism Holding of Social Security Organization (better known by its Persian acronym HEGTA) in March 2010 as part of IRIR’s outstanding debt to the organization.