Russia Tests India Freight Direct Via INSTC
Russian containers shipped from Astrakhan to Mumbai as Iran tests INSTC connectivity routes
Iran’s state-run shipping company has stated it has successfully completed the first transit of Russian goods to India, using the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).
Goods originated in St.Petersburg, departed the Russian Caspian Sea port zone of Solyanka, in Astrakhan, were shipped south to Iran’s Anzali Caspian seaport, and then transited south via road across Iran to the Iranian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. From there, goods were shipped to Mumbai on India’s West coast. The entire journey took 24 days and is likely to become quicker once the trans-Iranian railway is completed next year.
The test cargo included two 40-foot (12.192 meters) containers of wood laminate sheets, weighing 41 tons.
The Solyanka trade zone in Astrakhan is jointly owned by Iran and Russian businesses, with the Iranian side holding 53%. It is the largest port on the Volga River network, and gives onward access via rail to both Moscow and St.Petersburg as well as via river shipping to a further eleven Russian cities with populations in excess of 1 million along the Volga River itself. These include Tver, Dubna, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Ulyanovsk, Tolyatti, Samara, Saratov and Volgograd.
The Solyanka zone can be expected to become strategically important as Russia looks for new markets east as a result of its sanctions issues with the European Union.
India is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia along with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. All can be accessed via routes spanning out from the INSTC. Russia and India have both made commitments to increase bilateral trade by US$5 billion per annum for the next four years.
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