Trans-Caspian route from St Petersburg to India

Iran’s state-run shipping company has said that it has started its first transfer of Russian goods to India that uses a new trade corridor that transits the Islamic Republic.

The Russian cargo consisted of two FEUs of wood laminate sheets, weighing 41 tons, that departed St Petersburg for the Caspian Sea port city of Astrakhan, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said on Saturday June 11th, citing Dariush Jamali, director of a joint-owned Iranian-Russian terminal in Astrakhan.

The report described the cargo as an initial “pilot” transfer to test the corridor, but gave no other details.

From Astrakhan the cargo will cross the length of the Caspian to the northern Iranian port of Anzali, from where it will be transferred by road to the southern port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf. From there it will be loaded onto a ship and sent to the Indian port of Nhava Sheva, IRNA said.

Jamali said the transfer was being coordinated and managed by the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines Group and its regional offices in Russia and India and that the whole trip was expected to take 25 days.

The so-called North-South Transit Corridor, that uses Iran to link Russia to Asian export markets, had been a stalled project brought back to life by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.

The plan involves eventually building a railroad line that can transfer goods arriving at Iranian Caspian Sea ports to the south-eastern port of Chabahar.