New gateway to the Gulf
Russia is stepping up its ongoing efforts to gain access to the Iranian railway network – not only on the western shores of the Caspian Sea (see also page 38 of ITJ 23-26 / 2023). Iran is willing to improve the transit of Russian goods through the eastern branches of its railway network, until the Rasht–Astara link becomes operational.
At a meeting held in Tehran early in August, Seyed Miad Salehi, the country’s deputy minister of roads and urban development and the president of the Iranian Railways (RAI), assured his guest, Sergey Pavlov, deputy president of Russian Railways (RŽD), that trains from Russia would be prioritised when crossing the border at Sarakhs. “RAI operates the only possible transit corridor for Russian exporters to reach India. This is why we’re determined to increase transit volumes,” Salehi added.
But the route network in the eastern regions of Iran can also serve to expand the north–south freight corridor in the country. After a first Russian train, coming from Chelyabinsk in the southern Urals and running via Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, crossed the border at Sarakhs in May, a second gate for transit cargo from Russia opened at Incheh Boroun for the fourth round-trip in August.
Goods from Formachevo loaded into 36 containers even reached Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), carried via the port of Bandar Abbas. Alexander Sivertsev, the director of container transport at RŽD Logistics, added that “we’re also working to reduce transit times on north–south routes and also pay special attention to reducing the transport costs involved.”