Aras FTZ to expand railway transport capacity

Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, in northwestern Iran, has forged an agreement with an Iranian-European consortium to construct and commission a railroad to expand its railway transport capacity.

According to Safar Shasafand, deputy director for economy and investment at Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone, the agreement, worth 700 million euros, stipulates the construction of a 204-kilometer railroad to boost the zone's connectivity to the international corridors.

He added that the construction of the railroad will take five years.

“As expected, the railroad will be managed by a private sector investor for 25 years. After that, it will be handed over to the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways," he said.

Shasafand noted that the project will likely help transit 1.53 million tons of cargo during the first, and the capacity will increase to 10.76 million tons per annum after 20 years.

"During its first year of commissioning, the railroad will be able to carry 101,000 passengers, and this figure will increase to 209,409 passengers after 20 years," he said.

This railroad will help connect Iran to CIS countries again through Azerbaijan. Thus, Iran will reestablish its railway and trade relations with various countries and be a gateway to foreign markets.

Situated in northwest Iran in East Azerbaijan province, Aras borders Armenia, Azerbaijan and the semi-autonomous Nakhchivan region. The zone has become the main gateway to mainland Iran from the northern Commonwealth of Independent States.