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.