New cargo corridor from Pakistan to Russia via Iran and Kazakhstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Iran has transited a major consignment of tangerines from Pakistan to Kazakhstan in an initiative that could open a new corridor for shipment of food products from Southeast Asia to markets in Central Asia and Russia, Iran’s PressTV reported on December 26.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that the consignment that comprised 350 tons of tangerines had arrived in the country’s southeastern city of Zahedan by train from Pakistan’s Quetta and was already on its way to the port city of Aktobe in Kazakhstan. It would be then loaded on ships to be transited to Russia.

Majid Arjoni, the director general for Iran’s Southeast Railway Department, was quoted by media as saying that the country expected to transit as much as one million tons of goods through Zahedan-Quetta railway every year.

Iran hopes to use the same rail link to Kazakhstan for transit of goods from its southeastern port of Chabahar to Central Asia and Europe in what would eventually become a major East-West corridor.

The project to develop Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar started in 2007 through an investment that officials previously said already amounted to $1 billion.

The annual cargo tonnage of the port has now almost tripled to reach 8.5 million tons.

The overall development project is planned in four phases and is expected to bring the port’s total annual cargo capacity to 82 million tons.

Tehran plans to use Chabahar for transshipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading toward Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

Chabahar provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan. The Indian government has committed $500 million to Chabahar, with an aim to join an increasingly important transport corridor to resource-rich regional countries.

Sergey Kwan

TCA