Russia and Turkmenistan have witnessed a remarkable 11.6% surge in their bilateral trade turnover this year and the lion’s share of the trade is conditioned by the growth of trade flows via Turkmenistan from Iran. This is evident from remarks by Mikhail Rumyantsev, Executive Director of the Russian–Turkmen Business Council
“Many already want to unload goods at Bandar Abbas (the port of Iran) and send it further – there is a huge potential to increase the indicator,” he told in interview with RZD-Partner portal.
According to Rumyantsev, this growth faces infrastructural limitations at the Sarakhs-Sarakhs railway border crossing between Turkmenistan and Iran. The difference between track widths in Turkmenistan (1520 mm) and Iran (1435 mm) requires the replacement of wagon wheels at the border.
To address this bottleneck, accelerated reconstruction efforts are underway, aiming to streamline cargo movement and reduce transportation costs.
“Now reconstruction will be carried out there in an accelerated way. This will reduce costs, and products will arrive much faster. Thanks to the Eastern branch of the International Transport Corridor North – South and the fact that wagons can be attached to the assembled rolling stock, it will be possible to increase the volume of products delivered in both directions,” Rumyantsev noted.
The potential for further trade growth is immense, as evidenced by the growing interest in utilizing Iran’s Bandar Abbas port as a transshipment hub for goods destined for Russia.
“Trucks cannot take out goods in the quantity in which this happens by rail. In addition, gasoline is getting more expensive, and the railway that passes through Turkmenistan and Iran with unloading at the port of Bandar Abbas is perspective one that we are ready to support in every possible way”, Rumyantsev added.
As evident from Rumyantsev’s remarks, Russia stands committed to supporting the development of the North-South International Transport Corridor, not only by facilitating cargo movement but also by promoting the integration of Russian businesses into Turkmenistan’s economy. This includes providing assistance in establishing operations in Turkmenistan and promoting financial transactions.
Furthermore, the establishment of logistics bases in Turkmenistan holds immense promise for transforming the country into a regional trade hub. This strategic positioning will enable exporting nations to seamlessly transport goods to neighboring Afghanistan, further expanding regional trade connectivity, he stressed.
As reported earlier, Russian Railways Logistics has embarked on an initiative to investigate the feasibility of containerized flour exports to Iran and India via the railways segment of the North-South Corridor, traversing Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. ///nCa, 27 November 2023 [Photo credit – Freepik.com]