Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan inaugurated the final 32- kilometer section of a railway, linking the three countries east of the Caspian Sea, with the goal of boosting and facilitating regional trade and transit.
The inauguration ceremony took place on Wednesday in Turkmenistan, where Iranian President Hassan Rouhani joined Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.
The railway, which completes the North-South Corridor through the east of the Caspian Sea, was designed with the purpose of accessibility of the Central Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
The total length of the rail corridor is around 926 kilometers, which starts from Uzen in Kazakhstan and reaches Incheh Borun in Iran. About 146 kilometers of the route is situated in Kazakhstan, 700 kilometers in Turkmenistan, and 80 kilometers in Iran.
On the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, Rouhani said the transportation of goods between regional countries should become more economically justified and easier.
The Caspian Sea states should also facilitate road and sea transportation, he added.
The newly inaugurated railroad could connect Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member states to Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, he noted.
The railway would increase the volume of goods shipped between the three countries to 10 million tons a year, up from 3 million tons, and that the figure could reach 20 million tons by 2020.
The route will cut up to 600 kilometers of the distance between the Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Europe, leading to a considerable reduction of transportation costs.
The three countries signed an agreement in 2007 to build the railroad. The construction started in 2009.