Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (known as RAI) Saeed Rasouli said by completing rail infrastructures like Khaf-Herat railway, Iran would be able to access transit markets with over 35 million tons of annual capacity, IRIB reported.
Rasouli underlined Iran’s geopolitical and strategic position which has turned the country into a vital gateway for regional and international trade and said: “We must make the most of this position and these capacities.”
We only have the capacity to transit 18 million tons of goods in the region, a large part of which is transported through sea, he said, adding: “With the development of rail infrastructure, including the Khaf-Herat, Chabahar-Zahedan and Shalamcheh-Basra railway projects, we will access a market of 35 million tons in the region and we must step up our efforts to increase the share of rail transportation in transit.”
“The Khaf-Herat line has a transit potential of nearly two million tons; with the expansion of the rail network in Afghanistan, this capacity will definitely increase exponentially and we can reach much larger markets,” Rasouli said.
Khaf-Herat is part of the Iran-Afghanistan rail corridor. The project started in the fiscal year of 2007-2008, connects Iran’s eastern city of Khaf to Afghanistan’s western city of Ghoryan.
Iran has been following new strategies for increasing the share of transit in its foreign trade basket and the country’s railway network has become the center of the government plans for achieving the said goal.
Back in December 2019, Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami said the country is capable of boosting its capacity of transit to 50 million tons per year.
“We should make an essential improvement in our logistics power to gain our share of transit”, Eslami emphasized.
Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and RAI also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for boosting commodity transit in early December 2019.
Based on the agreement, which was inked by IRISL Managing Director Mohammadreza Modares Khiabani and Rasouli, some scheduled container trains will start operation to boost transit of goods through Iran and the two sides would jointly establish logistic terminals for container commodities.