Russia To Complete INSTC Railway Connectivity Via Oil Barter With Iran

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Iran will operate combined cargo transportation to Russia via Rasht-Astara and Rasht-Caspian Port railway routes, according to a director of the Iranian Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company Abbas Khatibi. The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway will be supported by the Plan and Budget Organization and financed by Iranian-Russia oil barter, he said adding that the priority of the Ministry of Road and Urban Development is to complete railway transit corridors.

The Rasht-Atara and Rasht-Caspian rail routes are an integral part of Iran’s International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) which links Caspian maritime trade directly via rail to Iran’s Persian Gulf ports, giving access in the Middle East, East African, India and South Asian supply chains. The route is currently operational, however via truck only as the rail sections are yet to be completed. Getting them operational is a key logistics issue, and especially due to the changing geopolitical situation and supply chains between Europe and Asia. When completed the INSTC route will be faster and less expensive than the Suez Canal route from Europe to Asia.

At present, the construction of the Rasht–Astara railway is 70% complete, while the Iranian government has now approved the construction of the Rasht-Caspian port railway as a separate rail route section for combined cargo transportation to Russia and the Caspian Sea countries, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. The involvement of Russian construction assistance financed by Iranian oil will bring the completion of the route forward to mid-2023. Currently, 160 km of track has been laid, and a joint Iranian / Azerbaijani financed waterfront project has been built in Astara by Iran Railways, connecting the rail route from Astara in Iran to the similarly named Astara in Azerbaijan and onto Russia.

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