Iran's Customs Administration is pursuing the project of opening a joint border gate at the Astara border-crossing point, the head of Astara Customs Administration has announced.
Hamid Reza Mohammadi said that the joint border gate will facilitate people's crossing the border and will save time in border controlling procedures, Iran's ISNA news agency reported on May 14.
Mohammadi went on to say that Iran is ready to increase the Astara border checkpoint's activity from 12 to 24 hours. He also criticized regions traders saying that the businessmen should use the potentials of the multipurpose Astara port for boosting trade among the littoral countries of the Caspian Sea.
"Five major ports: Baku in Azerbaijan, Astrakhan and Makhachkala in Russia, Aktau in the Kazakhstan, Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan are big opportunities in the maritime transport in the Caspian Sea," he underlined.
On the other hand, the governor of the city of Astara, Sirous Shafaghi said that besides Azerbaijan, Iran has good ties with other Caspian states including Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, adding that the administration should boost activity of the Astara port to decrease the dependence of the city's border markets on Azerbaijan, ISNA reported on May 13.
"It is necessary for the growth and development of the city," he added.
Located in the northern province of Gilan, the city of Astara borders Azerbaijan to the north, and is Iran's third busiest border city in terms of goods transit.
Approximately 75,000 tonnes of non-oil goods, valued at a total of $21 million have been exported via Astara customs from March 21 to April 21, according to the Iranian Custom Administration's latest monthly report released on May 5.
According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran in the first quarter of 2014 amounted to $47.34 million or by 23 percent less than in the same period of last year.