Iranian national railway RAI has reached an agreement with Azerbaijan Railways Transport Company over the construction and operation of a railway terminal in Astara, located in northern Iran, not far from the Azerbaijani border, Iran's Railway announced.
Under the terms of the agreement, Azerbaijan has committed to invest 60 million dollars in the project. In addition, Azerbaijan has agreed to hand over to Iran all the terminal facilities once the term of the agreement will expire.
The agreement will benefit Iran economically as Azerbaijan has agreed to transit 2 million tons of cargo through Iran per year, RAI officials said.
The construction of the railway line from Astara in Iran and Astara in Azerbaijan started back in March 2017, when Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev visited Teheran.
“The first phase of the operation, which is a 600-meter-long rail track, was laid while grounds are to be prepared for the second phase which will complete the whole project on the Iranian side,” said Governor of Astara Port Yunes Ranjkesh back in March.
On that occasion, a memorandum of understanding regarding railway development and building was signed between the two countries.
The project is part of the larger infrastructure project called the North-South corridor, a direct transport route between St Petersburg and Mumbai. The Iran-Azerbaijani project will better connect Iran to Europe’s railways and Azerbaijan to the Persian Gulf.