Wednesday, November 23 2016 12:04
Alexandr Avanesov

Iran receives first cargo via Armenia through new transit corridor from Europe

ArmInfo. The first cargo has  arrived in Iran from Germany via the new multimodal transit route  linking Iran and Europe through the Black Sea, Secretary of the  International Transport Association of Iran Gholamhossein Amiri says.

According to iran.ru, the given route is further expected to replace  the one laid via the territory of Turkey.  "Two cargo containers have  arrived in Iran via Armenia," Amiri said. "The cargo containers were  sent from Hamburg through a comparatively shorter route than the  Turkish route," the official said. "Over the past few years we had  some problems on the Turkish border regarding transportation of  cargoes from Europe.  This made us launch negotiations with several  other countries for alternative routes," he said.    

Tehran and Ankara have had a transit dispute because of different  fuel prices in the two neighboring countries. In addition, the common  border has often been a place of traffic jam for transit trucks. The  queue on the border can reach 15 km. The contracts signed by the  officials of the neighboring countries' customs bodies failed to  solve this problem. Transit safety is one more factor hampering cargo  transportation via Turkey. Several Iranian trucks have become victims  of arson and Ankara blamed the armed groups included in Kurdistan  Workers' Party. The Iranian Government demanded safety guarantees  from Ankara, but the results proved to be unsatisfactory. The Iranian  Ministry of Roads and Urban Development advised the freight companies  to avoid the routes running through Turkey. 

The Ministry recommended the truck drivers to use two alternative  routes: one via Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus, and the other one -  via Armenia, Georgia, the Black Sea, and then via Romania and  Bulgaria. "The price of cargo transportation via Armenia has turned  out to be 1-2% lower than via the Turkish route," Amiri said. The  latest talks with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Italy and  Greece focused the transit corridor involving these countries.  

To recall, earlier ArmInfo reported that Yerevan offered Tehran to  carry out multimodal transportation until the problem of Iran-Armenia  railway construction was solved.  The then Minister of Transport and  Communications of Armenia Gagik Beglaryan stated that it was proposed  to carry out road haulage from Iran to Armenian town of Yeraskh, from  where to organize further railway transportation to Georgian Black  Sea ports and further to Bulgaria and Romania. At the same time the  cost of the transportation will be by $500 less than the cost of  service offered by Azerbaijan. The minister assured that the Iranian  companies are interested in Armenian side's offer. For the project  implementation a tender will be announced in the nearest future for  construction of Agarak-Sisian road, a part of North-South road  corridor, which will allow to reduce the time of transportation by 2  hours. This part of the road will be put into operation in the end of  2019. "Iran demonstrates constructive approach to both Armenia's  offer and construction of Iran- Armenia railway however, the main  obstacle for construction is lack of necessary financial funds", the  minister stated.

The North-South 556km motorway will be laid via the Armenian towns of  Meghri-Kapan- Goris-Yerevan- Ashtarak-Gyumri-Bavra and enter the  territory of Georgia on Akhaltsikhe- Batumi section, which will  settle some transport problems of Armenia.  This will be a four- lane  motorway of reinforced concrete extending from the Armenian border  and Iran to the Georgian port Batumi. The road corridor will  facilitate improving the road connection with the two neighbors of  Armenia: Iran and Georgia, providing access to international trade  routes and markets. Agarak-Kapan-Yerevan-Gyumri_Bavra road links the  South of the country with the North providing access to "Southern  Road Corridor" of Georgia which enables access to Poti and Batumi  ports or to the East towards Tbilisi. Armenia raised $500mln loan  from the Asian Development Bank for the project that is estimated at  $1 billion. Eurasian Development Bank is ready to provide $150  million.  Armenia raised $60 million from the European investment  Bank.  Due to the project, the overland communication  Europe-Caucasus-Asia will be improved. The project will be completed  by 2019. It will allow Armenia to soften the consequences of the  blockade by Azerbaijan and Turkey and to join the Black Sea ring  highway.

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