Russia, Iran, India Plan to Double Their "North-South" Shipments By 2005

Russia, Iran and India plan to double their shipments along the newly-opened North-South sea route by the year 2005 (as compared with 2002), bringing them to an annual 8 million tons, Russian Deputy Transportation Minister Chingiz Izmailov said Monday, before going to Teheran to attend a second session of the North-South route's Coordinating Council.

The session, to run through April 30, will evaluate efforts taken by Russian, Iranian and Indian transportation authorities and ship operators to develop the new sea route, Izmailov announced. The Iranians will show their Coordinating Council fellow members around the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, where transit freights are processed, the deputy minister said. The Gulf countries are displaying a keen interest in the project, he added.

The North-South route, intended for shipping international transit freights from countries of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean to Central and Eastern Europe via Iran and Russia, cuts the journey down to one-third of the time it takes to carry cargoes across the Suez Channel, Izmailov said. According to him, the new passage also reduces the transportation costs by 400 dollars for each freight box.

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