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Maiden trial of Russia rail shipment via INSTC reaches India, opens gate for more such shipments

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The maiden trial rail shipment between Russia and India via Iran completed its journey reaching Mumbai last week. While the maiden journey comes to an end, it embarks a starting point of a broader development process along the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that includes more rail route variations and some trains already dispatched.

The Russia-India intermodal shipment which connected St. Petersburg with Mumbai, departed carrying two 40-foot containers with wood laminate sheets heading to the Russian Caspian Sea port of Astrakhan. From there, it left to the Iranian Caspian Sea port of Anzali. After entering and crossing Iran by rail, cargo reached the Bandar Abbas port in the Persian Gulf and departed for the West Indian coast, reaching Mumbai.

This first-of-a-kind intermodal train journey between St. Petersburg-Mumbai introduced Iran transport to the multimodal route via the Caspian Sea and strengthened Iran’s transport and transit role.

When welcoming the train, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber mentioned that his country is looking forward to developing more such services and embracing the INSTC route, which can redefine its position on international transport maps. He further stressed that Iran is already taking crucial steps to facilitate more such developments. “The transit capacity of the country has increased to 20 million tons, and by planning and taking appropriate measures, transiting 300 million tons of commodities per year can be reached,” he said.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) has announced the assignment of 300 containers solely to transport goods between Russia and India, Iranian media reported. 

“According to the plans made by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, in the first phase, 300 containers have been considered for transporting cargo to Russia, and if the demand increases, the number of these containers will increase continuously,” explained the company.

The INSTC route is already seeing more trains transiting and more variations being used. For example, amid the St. Petersburg-Mumbai train journey, a new train traveling from Moscow to the Indian port of Nhava Sheva was already entering Iran.

However, the train took a different route and transited via Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan before entering Iran via the Sarakhs border crossing. This train carries 39 containers and will also travel until Bandar Abbas by rail and then to Nhava Sheva by sea.

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