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Railway link from Kazakhstan to Iran across Turkmenistan to be inaugurated today

03 december 2014, 09:37

The new railway corridor is to be inaugurated today by President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Newskaz.ru reports, citing TASS.

The 900-km-long railway link constructed through concerted efforts of the nations involved runs from the Kazakhstan’s steppe across Turkmen Karakumy desert to the mountainous Gulistan province in the North of Iran. The project was bolstered by the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.

The key stations along the route will be Uzen in Kazakhstan, Kyzylgaya, Bereket and Etrek in Turkemenistan and Gorgan in Iran. The longest arm of almost 700 km runs across Turkmenistan. That is its completion and stitching to the Iranian arm would mark the full-fledged launch of the new corridor. The solemn inauguration ceremony will be held at the near-border stations Etrek (Turkmenistan) and Inche-Burun (Iran).

The agreement on construction of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway link was signed by the three leaders back in 2007, the actual construction works commenced in 2009.
The Kazakhstan’s arm of 120 km was the first to be completed in 2012; in 2013 it was stitched to the Turkmen section Kyzylgaya – Bereket. The two presidents were among those in attendance at the inauguration ceremony to celebrate the link-up of the two railway sections.

“With the railway link towards the Persian Gulf in place, Kazakhstan’s trade turnover in the current year has grown by 38%”, President Nazarbayev said while on his official visit to Turkmenistan December 2, 2014.

The new Uzen – Gorgan link is 600 km shorter than the railway route running from Kazakhstan’s Beinay to Iran’s Meshkhed across Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz, Turkmenabat, Tedzhen and Serakhs. Freights transshipment along the new route is estimated to grow from 3 to 10 million tons a year.

Railway transit opportunities offered by Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan may strengthen economic ties between Russia and Iran, facilitating the bilateral agreement on Iranian oil supplies in exchange for Russian grain and industrial products. According to Russia’s Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev, Moscow expects to sign exports contracts with Tehran outside traditional commodities.

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