North-South Transport Corridor

The North-South Transport Corridor is a multi-mode network. It is also called International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). It is 7,200 kms long. It connects Europe, Central Asia, Russia. Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran and India. It primarily involves freight movement from India, Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. The main objective of North-South Transport Corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities in the region such as Mumbai, Baku, Moscow, Bandar Abbas, Tehran, Bandar Anzali, etc. So far two dry runs (testing process) have been conducted. One was held in 2014 between Mumbai and Baku via Bandar Abbas. The next was done between Mumbai and Astrakhan via Bandar Abbas. The test runs showed that the transport costs were reduced by 2500 USD per fifteen tonnes of cargo.

Important Facts for UPSC examinations

  • The main objective of INSTC is to reduce the cost of transport.
  • It will increase the bilateral trade volumes among Iran, India, Russia and Central Asia.
  • The route is 30% cheaper and 40% shorter
  • India, Iran and Russia signed an agreement to implement INSTC by 2022. These three countries are the founding members of the project.
  • The other important member states of INSTC are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Turkey, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Ukraine, Syria. Bulgaria is the only observer member.
  • Turkmenistan is not a member. However, the country is likely to join through road connectivity.

Chabahar in INSTC

India and Iran signed an agreement to develop the Chabahar port of Iran in 2002. Under the agreement, India will help Iran to develop the port in to a full deep-sea port. However, the agreement is long standing. India has been demanding to include Chabahar in INSTC.

Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway link

This railway line is a part of INSTC and was completed in 2014. It is a 677 km long line.

Armenia-Iran Railway line

This is still in papers. It is lagging financiers as the economic feasibility is doubtful.

Astara port

Under INSTC, the Astara port was inaugurated in 2013. It is located in the south-west of Caspian Sea.

Iranrud Trans-Iranian canal

The Tranrud is a canal to be built from Caspian Sea to Indian Ocean.


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