The transport ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will meet as part of the preparation for the Caspian summit with the participation of the presidents of the five countries in Astrakhan on Aug. 8.
The Caspian summit is scheduled for September 2014.
The meeting of transport ministers will be held under the chairmanship of Minister Maxim Sokolov, the Russian Transport Ministry reported. It is planned to discuss the development of transit potential of the Caspian region to implement large transport and logistics projects as part of the "North-South" international transport corridor.
Astrakhan was chosen for holding a meeting due to its active regional diplomacy, growing trade in the Caspian direction and the vast historical experience, Governor Alexander Zhilkin was quoted as saying on the Astrakhan FM website. The foreign trade turnover of the Astrakhan region with the Caspian-littoral countries for the last 10 years increased more than six-fold to $ 755 million.
The "North - South" international transport corridor mainly passes through the territory of Russia. The land part of the "North - South" corridor, passing via Russian railways from the border with Finland to the Caspian Sea, is about 3,000 kilometers.
The main direction of developing transit and foreign trade cargo flows as part of the "North - South" corridor is the Buslovskaya - St. Petersburg - Moscow - Ryazan - Kochetovka - Rtishevo - Saratov - Volgograd - Astrakhan railway line with a length 2,513 kilometers.
The Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran) - Astara (Azerbaijan) railway is currently being built as part of the North-South international corridor. This project will be completed in early 2015. Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran are involved in the construction of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway.
This week, Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to accelerate the work as part of the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway. The Iranian side has completed about 80 percent of the work as part of the Qazvin-Rasht railway line construction. Currently, the remaining part is being constructed.
Azerbaijan intends to complete the construction of its part of the railway line soon, which will be done in a short period of time.
Azerbaijan must build four railway stations as part of its section. The length of each of them will be 1,050 meters.
A bridge with a length of 101 meters above the Astarachay River will also be erected.
The reconstruction of the existing railway in Azerbaijan has been completed.
Some $ 400 million in investments are planned to be made in the construction work on this section of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway. It is predicted that the turnover will be six million tons in the first phase and will reach 15-20 million tons in the future due to this section of the railway.
The commodity market of "North - South" international transport corridor is estimated at 25-26 million tons by 2015, according to expert estimates.
In case of reaching the design capacity, the trade relations among the Caspian littoral states and the Black Sea ports will be intensified. The corridor will increase rail transportation among Europe, South Asia and the Middle East.