EghtesadOnline: After being held up behind Sarakhs border crossing for two and a half months, 30 wagons carrying Iranian goods were let into the neighboring Turkmenistan on Thursday, according to the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“Sarakhs checkpoint had been closed since April 1, due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, as a result of which some 770 trucks were held up behind the border until Thursday. With 30 of them entering the border, there are still 740 trucks waiting for permits,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted by ILNA as saying on Thursday.
“A total of 131 trucks have been held up at Incheh Boroun and six at Lotfabad, which are Iran’s other trade gateways along the border with Turkmenistan.”
The official expressed hope that Ashgabat will remain committed to agreements reached with Iranian officials to reopen its trade borders with Iran.
Sarakhs border crossing, located in Iran’s eastern Khorasan Razavi Province, is the main export route to Central Asian countries.
Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami and his Turkmen counterpart Gandymov Rahim Nurgeldiyevich jointly inaugurated Sarakhs Transit Bridge on the border of the two countries through videoconferencing earlier this month.
The construction of the 96-meter-long, 15-meter-wide transit bridge, which connects the city of Sarakhs in Iran with its namesake in Turkmenistan across Tajan River, started in the year ending March 2016 as per an agreement signed in Tehran on Nov. 22, 2015, in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.
According to Eslami, the new structure would facilitate the movement of 1,000 vehicles per day.
“The two-way bridge would play a key role in improving trade between Tehran and Ashgabat while it would also pave the way for the implementation of the Ashgabat Agreement and help Iran expand its economic ties with Central Asian countries,” he was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
Iran and Turkmenistan are members of Ashgabat Agreement—a multimodal transport agreement signed in 2011, which envisages the facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and Persian Gulf.
The opening of Sarakhs Bridge comes as Iran and Turkmenistan have yet to fully open their borders after more than three months of closure following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Eslami hoped that rail and road transportation will resume at the three border crossings of Sarakhs, Lotfabad and Incheh Borun between Iran and Turkmenistan as soon as possible.
“Iran is all set to exchange views about new transportation projects with other Central Asian countries, particularly Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan,” he said.