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Eurasian Routes
North - South

North - South

Brief Description of the Noth-South Corridor

Starting points

Buslovskaya (Russia)
Helsinki (Finland)

Terminal points

Port of Olya (Russia)

Major cities en route

In Russia: Buslovskaya, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Ryazan, Kochetovka, Rtischevo, Saratov, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Port of Olya and the Caspian Sea

Beyond Russia: Helsinki, Tallinn, Klapeida, Minsk, Warsaw, Iran and on to the Persian Gulf and countries of the Indian Ocean

Other countries on the corridor Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Oman

Russia regards the North-South International Transport Corridor (ITC) as part of a strategic partnership with the countries to the south and duly signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on its construction with India and Iran in September, 2000. Several other countries have since signed up to the Agreement, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Oman and Tajikistan, while requests to join from Syria, Azerbaijan and Armenia are currently under consideration.

When complete, North-South ITC will offer a highly competitive alternative to the sea route via the Suez Canal, slashing costs and shipment times between Russia/Northern Europe and the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean/South Asia/South-East Asia. For example, it costs USD 3,500 to ship a 20-foot container from Germany or Finland to India via the Suez Canal, while the cost via North-South ITC is about 30% less!


Russia’s Federal Program for the Modernization of the Transport System provides for the upgrading and reconstruction of the line between Volgograd-Astrakhan-Samur, including the bridge across the river Buzan.

Provision has also been made for the modernization and reconstruction of the line between Kotchetovka-Rtischevo-Saratov, including the electrification of the section Kotchetovka-Rtischevo and constructing a high-speed section from Kotchetovka to Saratov.

The most important section for developing transit and export-import freight within the North-South ITC is the 2,513 kilometres from Buslovskaya to Saint-Petersburg-Moscow-Ryazan-Kotchetovka-Rtischevo-Saratov-Volgograd-Astrakhan. This route provides access to other parts of Russia, as well as to the Baltic countries, Ukraine, Belarus and then on to the European railway network.

An indication of the Company’s commitment to the North-South corridor is the construction of a 50-kilometer rail spur in less than a year linking the Caspian port of Olya with the mainline network, which immediately allowed the transport of up to 6 million tons of German exports by the shortest route to Iran and the Persian Gulf.

The North-South ITC provides for:

  • freight shipments within/to/from Russia and other CIS countries, including Central Asia
  • shipments within/to/from Europe:
    • Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
  • shipments within/to/from Asia, especially the countries of the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean:
    • India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait

The North-South ITC offers several intermodal routes for freight:

  • Trans-Caspian - from the Russian ports of Astrakhan, Olya and Makhachkala, with freight transported to and from the ports by rail, including Russian Railways, to the other littoral states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan
    • The train-ferry passage at Makhachkala is now fully operational, with ferry routes across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan and Aktau in Kazakhstan
    • Russian Railways is also building new railway infrastructure near the port of Olya in the Astrakhan region of the Caspian Sea, which should greatly increase the potential of the North-South ITC, with the volume of freight reloading at Olya rising to as much as 8 million tons by 2010
    • Regular services began on the newly completed the 45-km branch line between Yandyki and Olya in August 2004
  • direct railway connections via Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, with further access to the Iranian railway system via Tedjen-Serakhs on the Iranian-Turkmen border
  • along the western branch of the Corridor between Astrakhan-Makhachkala-Samur, and then via Azerbaijan, with further access to Iran via the border station of Astara
  • alternatively, freight can go from Samur on the territory of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Iran via the border station of Djulfa

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