The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line in Gilan Province (northern Iran), is a priority for Iran, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Rostam Ghasemi told Trend.
According to Ghasemi, the only uncompleted part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in west of the Caspian Sea is the Rasht-Astara railway line.
The minister added that the construction of the mentioned railway line has already been started by an Iranian company. At present, construction work on a 20-kilometer part of this railway line has been completed and underway on another part.
“Iran intends to complete the construction of this railway within three years,” he said.
The minister also pointed out that Iran is currently conducting discussions with the Russian side about the construction of the remaining parts of the Rasht-Astara railway line. While the Russian side is interested, the most of part of this railway line will be built at the expense of Russian investment.
The foundation of the ‘International North-South Transport Corridor’ was laid on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia, Iran, and India on September 12, 2000.
In total, 13 countries have ratified the agreement, including Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Russia, Türkiye, etc.
The purpose of creating a corridor is to reduce the delivery time of cargo from India to Russia, as well as to North and West Europe. Delivery time on the current route is more than 6 weeks, it is expected to be reduced to 3 weeks via North-South Transport Corridor.
The 175 km long Qazvin-Rasht railway was officially put into operation on March 6, 2019, to connect Azerbaijani railways with the Iranian railway network within the corridor. In addition, the 167 km long Rasht-Astara railway line must be built in Iran.