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Iran, Kazakhstan to launch pilot transit corridor in January

Iran and Kazakhstan will launch a pilot corridor to transit cargo through Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.

Iran and Kazakhstan will start transporting cargo on a transit corridor that passes through Iran’s seaport of Bandar Abbas in January, according to an official in the Iranian Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO).

Hossein Abbassnejad, who leads PMO’s local office in Iran’s southern province of Hormozgan, said on Monday that the landlocked Kazakhstan will be able to transport cargo on a north-south Iranian rail line for the purpose of exports from Iran’s largest container port on the Persian Gulf coast.

 Abbassnejad said the launch of the pilot transit corridor will coincide with a visit by Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov to Tehran in early 2023.

“It was decided that we start transit on this corridor on a limited and pilot scale and then decide on future steps if the project is successful,” the official said.

The announcement comes a week after Kazakhstan’s Acting Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Jumangarin toured the Shahid Rajayi port in Bandar Abbas after he met senior Iranian government officials in Tehran.

Iran’s transportation ministry expects cargo transit from Kazakhstan via Iran could increase fourfold to four million metric tons per year with the launch of new transit corridor.

The corridor can also facilitate cargo movement from China via Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran’s southern seaports.

Iran hopes a recent transportation agreement with Turkmenistan could lead to an increase in revenues from cargo transit from landlocked countries in Central Asia.

Experts say Western sanctions on Russia because of the war in Ukraine could also increase transit activity in corridors that pass through Turkmenistan and Iran.

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