By Arife Yildiz Unal
ANKARA (AA) - Roughly 1 million tons of cargo are to be transported via rail between Turkey and Iran this year, Turkish authorities said Tuesday.
The Transport and Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement that a recent memorandum of understanding signed in a gathering of railway representatives in Turkey's capital Ankara on Jan. 12-13 would open a new era for the transit railway.
Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, three train services were run daily between Turkey and Iran in 2020, transporting 564,000 tons of cargo, according to the statement.
The statement also announced that freight trains would also run between Turkey and Pakistan via Iran on a common tariff between the three countries. It added that talks are still ongoing to set this tariff.
With a recently completed railway between Iran and Afghanistan, it will now also be possible to transport freight between Turkey and Afghanistan.
"After the railway connection between Iran and Afghanistan was completed on Dec. 10, 2020, it became possible for a wagon loaded in Turkey to transit Iran to Afghanistan."
The railway administrations of Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan will come together in the coming months to set a course for rail transport between Turkey and Afghanistan.
The statement added that efforts were underway for a cargo transportation corridor through Iran between Europe and China.
*Writing by Yunus Girgin in Ankara