Iran transport diplomacy through activating regional corridor
The main domestic initiatives include formation of ‘Transport Development Fund’ in Iran. The Fund is now operational and the country has an eye on its mechanisms as a financial tool to develop its transport infrastructures as part of the plan to develop its transport infrastructures in different modes of transport. The state-owned Fund attempts to attract investments to transport projects through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Relevantly, mobilization of €200 million from National Development Fund to complete eastern railway corridor particularly Chabahar-Zahedan Corridor has been finalized. Moreover, the railway section from Birjand to Yunesi has also been financed with 3,700 billion Toman from the National Development Fund which will further expand railway corridor northward and eastward.
In terms of promoting transport corridors and as part of international transport diplomacy, various transport corridors got operational in 2022. The first freight train along the ‘Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Turkey Corridor’ had been part of a joint plan to activate the southern part of the East-West Corridor which following the attempts to launch an alternative route along the East-West Transport Corridor and concurrent with the visit of President of Kazakhstan to Iran on June 19, 2022, entered Tehran from Kazakhstan further heading to Turkey and Europe.
Similarly, the first freight train from Tajikistan transited through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran’s territories to the destination of Turkey while the launching ceremony was held in Dushanbe on October 17.
Along the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), since October 2022, there are direct rail transit of Russian freight to India through Iran’s territory. Thereby, freights from Northeast of Russia transit to Iran through Sarakhs Border and head to Bandar Abbas. Then, the freight is transported by ship to India. The freights pass 1600 km in Iran in less than three days, each time carrying 30 to 50 wagons. Freight transit through Iran’s territory lasts almost a third of the previous route from Russia to India through the Black Sea.
To mention other developments, launching the first container shipping line from Bushehr Port in the southwestern of Iran to the UAE’s Jebel Ali Port as well as the first shipment of refrigerated cargo from Kangan to Qatar by landing craft after construction and operation of two dock ramps had been other achievements in line with the regional transport diplomacy of Iran with its neighboring countries.