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May 16, 2016

"We intend to actively develop cooperation with Iran in the sphere of railway transport," says President of Russian Railways

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Oleg Belozerov, President of Russian Railways, Abbas Akhund, Minister of Roads and Urban Development of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Mohsen Pour Seyed Agay, President of Iranian Railways, have held a meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran.

At the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects of cooperation between Russia and Iran in developing the railway infrastructure of the Caspian Sea region, as well as attracting additional cargo traffic to rail.

"The potential for our cooperation is now very far from being fully realised," said Oleg Belozerov. "At the same time, Russian Railways and Iranian Railways have accumulated experience in the joint implementation of infrastructure projects. In 2012, Russian Railways completed the electrification of the Tabriz - Azarshahr railway line."

During the meeting with the President of Iranian Railways, the subject of a direct rail link along the west branch of the North - South International Transport Corridor was discussed. This project envisages the construction of the Rasht - Astara railway line, which will connect the railway networks of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The new infrastructure will facilitate faster freight delivery between Europe, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.

The sides also discussed the conditions for the implementation of the project to electrify the 495-kilometre Garmsar - Ince Burun line, including the 203 km which pass through a mountainous area. The modernisation of this infrastructure will increase train capacity and speeds.

Following the meeting, a protocol was signed on the main directions of further cooperation between Russian Railways and Iranian Railways. The document was signed by Oleg Belozerov and Mohsen Pour Seyed Agay. The parties will continue to work to realise joint projects, strengthen cooperation and attract additional freight traffic to the North - South International Transport Corridor.

The delegation of Russian Railways also took part in the I International Conference on Cooperation between Railways, Ports and Oil Producers, which was organised with the participation of the International Union of Railways as part of RailExpo 2016. In his speech at the conference, Oleg Belozerov noted that foreign economic cooperation between Russia and Iran was now going from strength to strength, which in turn is leading to increases in the volume of rail traffic.

"If last year there was a decrease in traffic volume on railway transport, the first four months of 2016 the transportation of goods between Russia and Iran has seen an increase of more than 25%," said Oleg Belozerov.

Belozerov also noted that the development of railway connections between Iran and Russia has great potential. For its part, Russian Railways is doing everything possible to ensure unhindered freight flows across the Russian territory. The Company is developing approaches to the ports of the South Basin and Astrakhan transport hub and provides a range of transportation and logistics services in the direction of the North - South International Transport Corridor.

Oleg Belozerov, who is also chairman of the International Union of Railways, said that Iranian Railways were an active participant in the UIC's Middle East Assembly and that collaboration in international organisations also strengthens cooperation, attracts additional cargo and promotes and develops railway business on the Eurasian continent.

"We intend to actively develop cooperation with Iran in the field of rail transport in both bilateral and multilateral formats, which facilitates the sustainable development of our economies," said Oleg Belozerov.

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