An official of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways says countries in Central Asia are mulling a plan to use Iran's railroad network as transit route for bulk cargoes.
Speaking to Iranian media on Saturday, Hossein Ashouri, deputy head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, said the Central Asian countries have plans to carry various kinds of bulk and container cargoes from the Inchehboroun border crossing in Iran's northern Golestan Province to southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.
“They are also willing to transit their needed commodities from Bandar Abbas to Central Asia” using Iran's railroad network, the official added.
Ashouri stated that as a first step, the Central Asian countries are planning to carry 500,000 tonnes of chemical fertilizer from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Bandar Abbas during the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21, 2015).
He added that Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have already signed an agreement to determine a single tariff rate in line with the three countries’ policy to reduce transit tariffs.
Ashouri said Iran and Kazakhstan have agreed to enforce a single tariff rate for transit commodities and Turkmenistan is expected to adopt the single tariff next month.
The official added that head of Kazakhstan’s railroads has already visited transit facilities in Bandar Abbas and Shahid Rajaei dock in south Iran.
The announcement came almost a month after Iran's Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Ne'matzadeh said the country is planning to spend up to USD 8 billion over the next six years to revamp and expand its railway network.
He added that Iran needs to invest USD 1.5 billion a year in the sector during the next six years as part of the Islamic Republic’s Vision Plan.