Russia and Iran signed an agreement on the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway on the 17th. This railway will open up the “North-South” international transport corridor, from the Baltic Sea to the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean, connecting and radiating many countries.
The Russian side hopes that the 7,200-kilometre “North-South” international transport corridor can rival the Suez Canal and become a major international trade channel.
On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Raihi attended the signing ceremony of the Rasht-Astara railway construction agreement through a video connection.
Putin said at the ceremony: “The unique ‘North-South’ traffic artery will greatly promote the diversification of global transport, and the Rasht-Astara Railway will become part of it.” Putin also gave examples of the “North-South” international “significant competitive advantages” in terms of time and cost savings for transport corridors.
According to the Russian Satellite News Agency, the “North-South” international transport corridor is an intermodal corridor that combines sea, rail, and road transport and passes through Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and India.
Among them, the Rasht-Astara railway is more than 160 kilometres long, and it is the last section of the western route of the “North-South” international transport corridor. It is also a necessary link for the full operation of the entire railway line of the corridor.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Novak said that Russia will allocate 1.3 billion euros, or about 9.848 billion yuan, as an intergovernmental loan for the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway. The total cost of the project is 1.6 billion euros, or about 12.121 billion yuan, of which 85% of the funds come from paid intergovernmental loans.