Shalamcheh-Basra railroad to boom trade with West Asia

IRNA – The launch of the 32-kilometer railroad of Shalamcheh-Basra boosts Iran’s exports to Iraq and from this route to the countries of West Asia and North Africa.

In order to complete the Shalamcheh-Basra railroad route, the 17-kilometer Khorramshahr-Shalamcheh railway project was completed in 2011 to connect the Iranian railways to Iraq, and it was decided to join the city of Basra, IRNA reported on Monday.

With the start of the first government of Hassan Rouhani, the completion of Shalamcheh railway to Basra was considered by the government seriously in order to facilitate the commuting of Iranian pilgrims, especially during the Arbaeen days and the compatriots could use this rail link from Iran via Basra to Karbala and other holy cities of Iraq.

Now, the rail link of Basra to Karbala, Iraq passenger trains and freight are commuting and a few years in the days of Arbaeen, Iranian pilgrims are travelling by train from Tehran to Shalamcheh and from there after a 32 km-trip by bus to Basra and by Iraqi train depart from Basra to Karbala.

To build the railway, it was supposed the Iraqi side to take necessary steps towards the construction of a 32 km railway inside Iraq from Shalamcheh to Basra, but due to economic problems and a shortage of funds, the Iraqi government has so far refused constructing this part of Shalamcheh’s railroad to Basra.

Despite the importance of the railway (Shalamcheh to Basra) and despite having signed a memorandum of understanding between Iran and Iraq for the project, the necessary measures have not still taken to complete and in the visit of the Iranian President’s trip to Iraq completing the project will be discussed.

To complete the rail project, according to an agreement reached with the Iraqi authorities in this regard, Iran was about to construct a 700-meter bridge on the Arvand river until the railway passes above the river and after 32 kilometers is connected to Basra railway station.

Recently, Mohammad Eslami, the minister of Road and Urban Planning, visited the Shalamcheh region regarding the necessity of the construction of this rail project, had noted, ‘The connection of the Khorramshahr-Basra railway is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Planning. In this regard, initial agreements with Iraq were also implemented.’

He noted that the constant flow of passengers and cargo between Iran and Iraq has made Iran’s rail link to Iraq one of the most important government programs, and the construction of this project has always been emphasized by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to facilitate freight and passenger commute between the two countries.