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WorldAsiaCaspian Sea trade between Russia and Iran flourishes

Caspian Sea trade between Russia and Iran flourishes



Trade between Russia and Iran via the Caspian Sea has increased by 70% over the past 12 months. The development of overland routes is expensive and unlikely to receive immediate international funding, making waterborne trade the simplest and most obvious priority.

Many analysts suggest that Moscow and Tehran consider the sea as a route because of the real and potential instability in the Caucasus and Central Asia, or because other countries in the two regions are ready to refrain from cooperating with a pair of Western-sanctioned states.

The developing business direction is not without problems either. According to Western experts, Moscow has long had difficulties with intermodal transport. Its navigation and infrastructure capabilities in the Caspian are limited, and Iranian ports lack efficient transport links with the country’s national rail network.

However, the route is developing rapidly: in the past 12 months alone, maritime trade between the two countries has increased by 70%, almost ten times the growth of Iran’s foreign trade as a whole. If the Caspian route continues to develop at the same pace, and this task is, of course, feasible, then the Caspian, and not the Caucasus or Central Asia, could become the main route between Russia and the states of the world . This will allow Moscow to remove many sanctions-related restrictions and further strengthen the alliance between the Islamic Republic and the Russian Federation.

The Kremlin will try by all means to develop the direction, unlike Chinese money, since the investments of the Celestial Empire are aimed at establishing other trade corridors that have nothing to do with Russia’s interests. Any Chinese money funneled into Iran will almost certainly benefit the east-west routes that benefit Beijing, rather than the north-south routes desired by Moscow.

Russia will also have to make an effort to maintain its record growth rates. Moscow has only two major ports on the Caspian, located in Astrakhan and Makhachkala. At the same time, the first months are bound by ice. In addition, Russian shippers often have intermodal transit problems and do not have the necessary number of Caspian freighters, let alone self-propelled vehicles, for the Caspian to quash hopes for a complete replacement of alternative routes along terrestrial corridors.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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