By Amina Nazarli
Railway delegations of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia met at a tripartite meeting in Moscow on March 7 to sign a memorandum on of cooperation in the field of railway transport.
The sides considered general tariff for the railway for 2017. Following the talks, the three parties signed an agreement to reduce the railway transit tariff.
When connecting the railways of the three countries bulk of the North-South railway corridor will be activated.
The North-South Corridor will connect the railways of Azerbaijan and Iran, which in turn will provide a wider transport connection between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
Due to its location on the corridor and role as a transit country, Azerbaijan stands to gain substantially from the North-South project.
Hossein Ashouri, director of the Iranian Transit Transport Committee, said that after Iran, Russia and India agreed on the implementation of the North-South corridor 14 years ago, the first experimental train on the Mumbai - Bandar Abbas - Astara – Moscow route was launched in 2016 thanks the cooperation of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan.
North-South, implemented jointly by these three neighboring countries, is important not only for the countries participating in it, but for the entire region.
Azerbaijan is particularly 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 from east to west and strategically plays the role of a bridge between the two civilizations.
The project will also provide an important impulse for effective development of the economies of not only the three main participating countries. Other countries will also join the project as participants, which will allow establishing considerable trade turnover between the Northern Europe and Southeast Asia. In particular, Ukraine and Estonia have already expressed interest in joining the corridor.
The forecasts are that in case the North-South corridor operates at full capacity, it will create opportunities for Russia, European, Caucasian and Central Asian countries to access the Persian Gulf and India, as well as intensify trade relations between the Caspian littoral countries and Black Sea ports.