Azerbaijan is the active initiator and driving force of the North-South transportation corridor project, Sergey Stolyarov, head of the International Cooperation Department at Russian Railways JSC, told Trend.
Stolyarov emphasized the importance of laying the foundation of the railroad bridge over the Astara River on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Apr.20.
The railroad bridge over the Astara River is a strategically important facility that will connect the railways of Azerbaijan and Iran. The bridge’s construction is planned to be completed by late 2016.
Stolyarov expressed hope that it will be a cornerstone for the active phase of implementation of the project for constructing the Rasht-Astara section which is the main element of the North-South corridor.
Certainly, the implementation of the project for construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line will enable Azerbaijan to receive additional transit cargo base and to become a major participant of the North-South corridor, according to the Russian Railways representative.
Touching upon the possibility of creating a consortium for the North-South project, Stolyarov noted that the project participants have supported a tripartite dialogue on its implementation for a long time.
“Currently, we discuss the possible forms of its joint implementation with our partners both in Azerbaijan and Iran. So everything is possible,” he added.
The North-South corridor is meant to connect Northern Europe with South-Eastern Asia. It will serve as a link to connect the railways of Iran, Azerbaijani and Russia.
At the initial stage, it is planned to transport 6 million tons of cargo per year via the North-South corridor and further to increase this volume to 15-20 million tons.