Russia says it has presented a plan to Iran which envisages establishing a unified transport company with India to operate along the emerging North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) – an ambitious intercontinental multi-modal route that would link St. Petersburg to Mumbai.
The plan was raised during a visit to Tehran by Alexander Zhilkin, the governor of Russia’s Astrakhan region.
Zhilkin was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying that Iran should support the idea of forming a unified international operator for the NSTC project.
If India agrees to the idea, Russia and Iran propose to create a unified transport and logistics company, ITAR-TASS added.
The same company would assign representative from each of the countries to work on their own link in the overall structure of the corridor, the report added.
The NSTC primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road. At least two dry runs over the project have been carried out so far showing that the transport costs as well as the shipment time will be much lower than the current all-sea route from St. Petersburg to Mumbai.
Analysts have already emphasized that the project will be specifically useful for Iran to import food and consumables from Russia directly to consumption centers in its north. They say it will also grant Russia easier access and a strategic foothold in West Asian markets.
Russia appears to have already attached great significance to this project. It is expected to be a key topic for discussions in an upcoming meeting between the presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, media reports say.