YEREVAN (ARKA)—According to Armenia’s Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Artur Arakelyan, Armenia and China are discussing possible financing schemes for the construction of a railway link from Armenia to Iran.
He said both countries have been looking into ways of intensifying bilateral relations and boosting trade, discussing China’s possible participation in the construction of the railway that would allow direct delivery of goods from China to Armenia.
The importance of diversification of cargo transportation routes is recognized both by the governments of Armenia and Iran. According to the deputy minister, the railway project was discussed with the Chinese side that expressed interest in its implementation. Work is already underway to develop a financing scheme for the project and is estimated to cost $3-$4 billion.
The Armenian government upheld the 300-kilometer railway construction project on August 7, 2014. The project implies construction of 64 bridges of total extent of 19.4 kilometers, 60 tunnels (102.3 kilometers) and 27 stations as part of the infrastructure. The construction is expected to be completed in 2022. Annual freight traffic will be 25 million tons.
The project of the railroad has been developed by China’s CCCC International, and Chinese banks have expressed willingness to finance 60% of the project.
According to Armenian National Statistical Service (NSS), the trade with Iran in the first 9 months of 2015 dropped by 4.4% from the year earlier to $104.4 million