The joint railway of Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan will shorten the North-South route considerably, a senior railway official announced.
"The inauguration of Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan route is expected to shorten the route from Russia and Kazakhstan in North to the open seas in the south by at least 400 kilometers," Deputy Managing Director of Iranian Railway Company Hossein Ashouri said on Saturday.
He underlined that as the route is shortened the cost of cargo transportation from Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran will be reduced and the said countries will become more interests in transit of their goods via this route to the South and Europe.
On Thursday, Senior Advisor to Iran's Roads and Urban Development Minister Morteza Baqeri said that joint railway is scheduled to come into operation before 2015.
"Final technical testing, landscaping, blocking unauthorized passages and viewing are among measures which should be taken prior to the opening of the joint railway before end of 2014," Baqeri said while inspecting the progress of the joint railway in Golestan province.
He noted that Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan railway is one of the important economic projects of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and a major economic corridor in East of the Caspian Sea.
The length of this railway which is built in East of the Caspian Sea is about 908 km of which 120 km is in Kazakhstan, 700 in Turkmenistan and 88 km in Iran.
The railway route connects the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) countries to the Persian Gulf and the South East Asian nations.
The railway will soon be inaugurated in the presence of presidents of Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani emphasized the need for relevant officials to pave the ground for faster implementation of joint railroad projects with the neighboring countries, particularly with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan.
President Rouhani urged officials in charge to complete the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan and the Khwaf-Herat (between Iran and Afghanistan) railways maximum within the next few months.
In May, Head of Iran's Railroad Organization Mohsen Pour Seyed Aqayee underlined the country's transit potentials, and expressed the hope that expansion of transit cooperation among the regional states would bring about economic boom in the entire region. Speaking at the 60th meeting of railroad transport council of the Common Wealth Countries, Seyed Aqayee stressed Iran's capabilities and potentials for goods transit via South-North and East-West corridors, and called for further cooperation among states. He also said Iran is ready for reviewing international tariffs and discount for transit, adding, "The council's member states should become more active on international transport scene and review international transport tariffs too."