Progress of the International North South Transport Corridor | Security Risks Asia Made with Humane Club

Progress of the International North South Transport Corridor

Published Mar 05, 2019
Updated May 01, 2020

Tehran Times and other news agencies in Iran reported that the country hosted the Seventh coordination council and the North South Corridor ministerial meeting in Tehran on March 4 -5.

During the two-day summit, the fourteen member countries explored ways of facilitating cooperation among the member states and discuss new approaches to increase the volume of trade through increasing the economic attractiveness of the corridor as well as its competitiveness compared to rival corridors in the region as per the Tehran Times.

“Since 2000, in which the coordination council of the INSTC was established, the council have held six meetings.” Iran’s Deputy Transport Minister Shahram Adamnejad said. The official further emphasized the need for close cooperation and unity among the member countries in order to promote this corridor and commercialize its routes. “Undoubtedly, the current and future plans and actions of the member states in developing and completing their transport infrastructure and facilities, in a context of synergy and coordination, will have a significant impact on the prosperity of the corridor routes.” Adamnejad added.

Deputy Transport Minister Shahram Adamnejad also mentioned other advantages of the INSTC, saying “Considering the great tourist attractions along the north-south corridor, in addition to the development of transit traffic, establishment of touristic facilities along the corridor is also being pursued. In this regard, preparatory talks have been conducted with some neighbors and the plan has been in discussed with other corridor countries.”

INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road.

The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali, etc.

Russia, Iran and India signed the agreement for the NSTC project on May 16, 2002. All three countries are founding member states on the project. Other important member states include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Belarus with other states having varying levels of involvement.

 Given its location in the INSTC, Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar is of high significance in the INSTC project. India and Iran have a long-standing agreement, signed in 2002, to develop Chabahar into full deep sea port. The port has the ability to handle cargo ships bigger than 100,000 tons and industry analysts have highlighted there are long term plans to integrate Chabahar with the NSTC.

    The International North South Transport Corridor is said to be ready but for the strategic “Qazvin-Rasht” railway, which will be inaugurated and will reduce a significant share of cargo transportation costs between Asia and Europe. The 164-kilometer-long stretch was a missing link in INSTC, which will connect Iran with Russia’s Baltic ports and give Russia rail connectivity to both the Persian Gulf and the Indian rail network. 

The concurrent inauguration of the Qazvin-Rasht railway, the construction of the Rasht-Astara railroad will commence, opening new opportunities for the entire Eurasian region. Construction of Chabahar-Zahedan railway is currently underway, which will connect the country’s northern and southern ports and borders upon the completion.

INSTC is a major transit route designed to facilitate the transportation of goods from Mumbai in India to Helsinki in Finland, using Iranian ports and railroads, which the Islamic Republic plans to connect to those of Azerbaijan and Russia.