The governments of Azerbaijan and Iran are jointly funding the development of an integrated industrial park and logistics centre at Ardabil in north-western Iran. The complex will be located just 37 km from the Azerbaijan/Iran border city of Astara.
The Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization (ISIPO), which is a developmental agency affiliated with the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, is coordinating the project.
The combined industrial park and logistics zone will occupy an area of 95-ha, and both domestic and foreign enterprises will have the opportunity to establish their factories and businesses in it.
In addition to this development, the two governments continue to discuss financing options regarding the construction of Iran’s planned rail link between Ardabil and the border city of Parsabad. This would provide an additional and improved connection between Iran and Azerbaijan’s national rail network and the region’s main east-west (China/Europe) and northsouth (Russia/India) intermodal transport corridors.
While route, design, technical and commercial feasibility studies for the Ardabil-Parsabad railway have been completed, funding arrangements are not yet in place, and this is where discussions between ministry officials in Tehran and Baku are focused.
The developments will boost the economy in this region of Iran and improve the country’s overall competitiveness in selling goods to Russia and the Central Asian States. It will also boost Azerbai jan’s role as a transit corridor for Iran, while giving its importers/exporters better access to southern Iranian ports, including Shahid Rajaee (Bandar Abbas). The cross-border trade between the two nations would also benefit.
Meanwhile, in the port of Astara, the Azerbaijani Government has agreed to help finance various modernisation and expansion programmes. These include the development of new facilities for handling containers, general cargo and grain.