January 29, 2021 “PortNews”
The ‘North-South’ transport corridor, which will compete with the route through the Suez Canal, is becoming increasingly clear-cut. The port of Mumbai will become a gateway to this route, India is the most interested party in this project. Russia will also receive enormous benefits from the international transport corridor, playing the role of a transit country.
The idea of connecting continents with a full-fledged transport corridor has been discussed for 20 years. Initially, three states participated in the project: Russia, India and Iran. Their goal was to connect the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf with the Caspian Sea through Iran. This would provide a route to the Nordic countries via Russia. Later, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Oman, Syria and Bulgaria (as an observer) joined the project.
The transport connectivity of these states will contribute to the development of trade in the Eurasian space.
Currently, cargo from India to Russia goes mainly via Europe and China. It takes a long time. For example, cargo going to Europe from India is delivered by sea to St. Petersburg within 40 days. Such long transportation is also expensive.
A test flight along the ‘North-South’ International transport corridor showed that cargo from India to Russia travels twice as fast via Iran and Azerbaijan. The cost of such transportation can be reduced by almost 30%, says the newspaper “Kommersant”.
Under the project, railways, highways and sea routes will be used for cargo transportation. A 50-kilometer railway line has already been constructed across Russia to the seaport of Olya in the Astrakhan region. The harbor will proceed a variety of container ships.
The launch of the route as a whole largely depends on the position and activity of India. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of the MGIMO study “Eurasian Strategies”. The challenge is that China, interested in increasing the possibilities of export supplies to Europe, is developing latitudinal routes, while India is considering meridional routes. India has already invested over two billion dollars in the project and plans to go further. Experts are confident that the start of cargo transportation along the ‘North-South’ international transport corridor , will accelerate bilateral Indian-Russian trade as well.