Sunday, August 7, 2016
Iran & Russia map out rival route to Suez Canal.
Iran & Russia map out rival route to Suez Canal. (IFP news).
A major project to foster trade connectivity through a less trodden path straddling a promising market is about to feature prominently in discussions when presidents of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan meet in Baku on Monday.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC), a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, is being nurtured for significantly reducing costs and travel time and boosting trade.
“Our talks will focus on a flagship project – the International North–South Transport Corridor with a total length of 7,200 kilometers,” Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying on Friday.
“It aims to provide the best possible opportunities for transporting transit cargo from India, Iran, and the Persian Gulf states to Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and further to northern and western Europe,” he said.
The NSTC concept was formalized by India, Iran and Russia in 2000 but it has not taken off in a big way yet. Western trade sanctions on Russia and Iran in recent years have provided a new impetus to put steam on the project.
Both Iran and Russia as well as Azerbaijan are seriously dependent on oil revenues which have sharply fallen due to the price collapse. The new transit route offers them a unique alternative to diversify their economy.
It also helps them as well as India and other regional countries reduce their dependence on traditional markets in the West where there is currently not much demand.
The corridor, instead, offers access to growing untapped markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The ship, road and rail route connects India’s Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bander Abbas and further to Baku in Azerbaijan as well as Astrakhan, Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia before stretching to northern Europe and Scandinavia.
Besides Iran, India and Russia, countries that are on board to integrate into the transit network include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, Tajikistan, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria.
“We believe that this cooperation serves the interests of the peoples of Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia and, of course, the interests of the entire region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.
According to Zarif, the countries were discussing the “final details” of the project.
Dry runs of the route were conducted in 2014, from Mumbai to Baku and Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas. Results showed transport costs had been reduced by $2,500 per 15 tonnes of cargo. Hmmm.....They have some great fiction writer at PressTv. . Read the full story here.