Tehran - Head of Iran’s Budget and Planning Organization (BPO) said Caspian Port in Gilan Province’s Anzali Free Trade Zone, will be connected to the national rail network by the end of the next Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2021). As reported by Tasnim news agency on Friday, Nobakht made the remarks during a resilient economy staff meeting with a focus on Rasht-Caspian-Anzali railway project. “By the end of next year, all southern ports should be connected to the Caspian port via railroad, since a significant part of our trade exchanges with Eurasian countries is taking place through these ports,” he said. He further pointed to the Rasht-Astara Railway project and noted that Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev will visit Gilan in the near future to follow up on the completion of the project. “Using the capacities of the Anzali Free Trade Zone we can increase our trade exchanges with the Caspian Sea nations,” he said. Nobakht also mentioned the free trade deal with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and said: “This unique opportunity should be used to export our products to the Eurasian nations through Caspian and Anzali ports next year.”
Back in August 2019, the managing director of Anzali Free Trade Zone said connecting the Caspian port to the North-South Corridor is expected to boost business transactions between Iran and its northern neighbors especially in the Eurasian union. According to Reza Masroor, promoting trade activities through the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) would be beneficial for the Islamic Republic. He added that doing trade through this channel would considerably decrease the costs and time span of commodity transport and would lead to an economic boom in Russia, Iran, and India. Located on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, the Anzali Free Trade Zone, in which the Caspian port lies, is regarded as one of the major economic hubs of Iran with an area of 9,400 hectares of land and 40km shoreline. It is seen as the entrance and exit point of the International North-South Transport Corridor. Currently, Iran is developing a railroad project to connect the Rasht-Qazvin railway to Anzali and Astara ports.
Another line is also under construction which will link Rasht to Caspian port. Once the project is complete, Caspian port will become the largest hub in northern Iran and make a major contribution to national and local economic development. The route will connect Iran with Russia’s Baltic ports and give Russia rail connectivity to both the Persian Gulf and the Indian rail network. All the mentioned projects are meant to contribute to achieving INSTC’s envisaged plans.