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Brief Description of North– 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 in the Indian Ocean

Countries along 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. In September 2000, Russia, India and Iran signed an Intergovernmental Agreement on the construction of the corridor. Several other countries have since joined the Agreement, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Oman and Tajikistan, while requests to join from Syria, Azerbaijan and Armenia are currently under consideration.

When complete, the North-South ITC will offer a highly competitive alternative to the sea route via the Suez Canal, cutting costs and shipment times between Russia/Northern Europe and the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean/South Asia/South-East Asia. For example, it costs USD 3500 to ship a 20-foot container from Germany or Finland to India via the Suez Canal, while the cost via the North-South ITC is about 30% less!


The Federal Target Programme “Modernization of the Transport System Systemof Russia” provides for the upgrading and reconstruction of the line between Volgograd-Astrakhan -and Samur, including the bridge across the Buzan River.

A provision has also been made for the modernization and reconstruction of the  Kotchetovka-Rtischevo-Saratov line , including the electrification of the Kotchetovka-Rtischevosection and andthe construction of 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 2513-kmroute between Buslovskaya to St. Petersburg-Moscow-Ryazan-Kotchetovka-Rtischevo-Saratov-Volgograd-  and 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.

Another indication of the Company’s commitment to the North-South ITC is the fact that it built of a 50km rail spur linking the Port of Olyaon the Caspian Sea with the mainline network in under one year , which immediately made it possible to transport of up to 6 million tonnes of German exports along 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, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, and Kuwait

The North-South ITC offers several intermodal  freight routes :

  • The 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 near 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 tonnes by 2010
    • Regular services began on the newly completed  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 Iran–Turkmenistan border
  • along the western branch of the Corridor between Astrakhan-Makhachkala- and Samur, and then via Azerbaijan, with further access to Iran via the border station of Astara
  • alternatively, freight can go from Samur through the territory of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Iran via the border station of Julfa.