Iran’s railways chief says the country plans to set up joint ventures with major global manufacturers of locomotives, including the General Electric and Siemens, as part of plans to expand its railways.
Mi’ad Saelhi, a deputy transportation minister, said on Tuesday that Iran needs foreign technology to upgrade its outdated railway system although he insisted that the government will continue to provide support to local manufacturers of locomotives.
“It has been agreed that we begin joint manufacturing of locomotives in cooperation with Siemens and GM,” Salehi was quoted as saying by the semi-official ILNA news agency.
“The technology in the (Iranian) railway industry is at a low or average level and we desperately need the influence of technology ... that will make the country independent of the foreigners in the long-run,” he said.
The official said joint ventures with companies like GM and Siemens will boost parts manufacturing capacity in Iran and will lead to more jobs creation across the industry.
He said that partnerships with foreign companies will be limited to locomotive manufacturing and local companies will continue to supply wagons to the railway system in Iran.
Iran’s transportation minister Rostam Qassemi also said on Tuesday that Iran needs at least 1,000 locomotives to increase rail freight capacity by 20 million metric tons per year.
Qassemi said government’s policy is to allow joint ventures with foreign companies in the Iranian railway industry to help local manufacturers boost their production capacities.
Iranian government figures show the country has reached a rail length of over 14,000 kilometers after implementing a series of expansion plans in its railways over the past decade.