International Transport Corridor "North-South" Gets New Lease of Life

At the second meeting of the Co-ordination Council on the international transport corridor North-South Russia proposed to set up an international consortium to develop the corridor, Russian Deputy Transport Minister, Chingiz Izmailov, has stated.

"We invite all those involved in the work of the corridor to participate in the consortium, for example, fright- and port owners, carriers and banks of Iran, Russia and Germany," Izmailov pointed out.

Unlike the Co-ordination Council which ensures legal functioning of the corridor, the consortium will be in charge of its economic activity. According to Izmailov's estimates, the consortium will be able to attract hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the infrastructure of the transport corridor.

The intergovernmental agreement on the international transport corridor, North-South, between Russia, India and Iran came into force a year ago. Since then it has been joined by Belarus and Kazakhstan, the deputy minister stated. Joining of Oman and Tajikistan is currently being considered. Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria have also sent notes expressing their willingness to participate in the agreement.

"The first development stage of the North-South corridor, political and informational one, has been a success. We have reached a stage of the agreement's practical realisation, for example, by setting up a consortium," Izmailov stressed.

In 2002, a total of 7 million tons of freight were transported through Russian ports via the North-South corridor, while in 2003 the figure may increase up to 8 million tons, he said.

Russia also hopes that connecting of 4 Pan-European transport corridors with the North-South corridor will ensure the corridor's further development, Izmailov stated.

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