Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway Project to be Cost Effective for Whole Region

Feb. 12--"The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway project will be cost effective not only for these three countries, but also for the whole Central Asian region," the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Iran to Kazakhstan, Gorban Seifi told Trend.

After the full completion of Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, the distance to the Gulf countries will be reduced by about 500 kilometers, according to the ambassador.

"Moreover, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will be closer to Europe through Turkey. All this will strengthen not only the trade and economic relations," the diplomat said.

Seifi said that Iran has completed its section, and has officially opened it.

"Kazakhstan has also completed its section of the railway. Now it is Turkmenistan's turn, which has completed some part of the road running to the Kazakh border. The second part of the Turkmen section running to Iran's Inceburun city is under construction.

Currently, we are namely waiting for the completion of the Turkmen section for the entire railway from Kazakhstan to Iran through Turkmenistan to start working," Seifi said.

The issue relates to the difference of the rail gauge, as it is different in Kazakhstan and in Iran, according to the diplomat.

"There will be no need to overload cars coming from Kazakhstan on the border with Iran. The latest equipment has been installed on the Iranian section of the railway near Serakhs city which allows changing the rail gauge at the right time," Seifi said.

Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway is a part of the North-South international transport corridor. It is assumed that this railroad will create additional routes linking Kazakhstan, the central regions of Russia and Turkmenistan, Iran, Gulf countries, South and Southeast Asia, and will increase transit freight and passenger traffic, reduce transport costs, save time for travel and cause economic growth in the regions through which the railway will run.

A trilateral intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2007 between Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran on the Zhanaozen -Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek -Gorgan railway line with subsequent access to the Russian railway network, which will shorten the route by 600 kilometers. The countries started its construction in 2009.

The construction of the Kazakh section was completed in November 2011. The Turkmen-Kazakh section of the railroad was opened on May 12, 2013 with participation of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The international transport runs between the stations of Bolashak (Kazakhstan) and Serhetyaka (Turkmenistan). Additionally, stations were opened on the Kazakh section: Bastau, Akbobek, Bopay, Taygyr, Kurmash, Bestortkol.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said in June that Turkey is ready to join the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan transport corridor.

Translated by L.Z.

Edited by C.N.

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