Azerbaijan Railways: Estonia to join North-South Transport Corridor
Estonia plans on joining the North-South Transport Corridor, a project for an international rail route cnnecting the Persian Gulft with the Baltic Sea, the deputy director of Azerbaijan Railways announced.
"Estonian Railways will join the North-South project," Igbal Huseynov, deputy chairman of Azerbaijan Railways, told Russian news agency Interfax. "This will enable freight to be moved from Northern Europe and Scandinavia via the port of Paldiski through Russia to Azerbaijan and from there on to Iran and other Gulf states."
Huseynov noted that the agreement was reached in a bilateral meeting with the Estonian railway company, and that the relevant documents are expected to be signed sometime during the first half of December at a meeting with representatives of Azerbaijan, Estonia, Iran and Russia, once Russia and Iran have settled the issue among themselves.
"Russia and Iran support Estonia's participation in this project," Huseynov said.
According to Interfax, the principal advantage of the North-South Transport Corridor compared to other transport routes is that it will substantially reduce costs in terms of both time and money. While shipping goods from the Persian Gulf to Helsinki via the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea takes 40 to 60 days, it would only take 20-25 days via the North-South corridor.
In order to develop the corridor, Azerbaijan, Iran and Rusia concluded an agreement in 2005 ont he construction of 375 kilometers of track on Iran's territory as well as on Azerbaijani territory up to the Iranian border.
The cost of the project is approximately 200 million euros.