The presidents of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan will meet today in Iran for their second trilateral summit.
The meeting will focus on the North-South Transport Corridor, a project to link South Asian markets to Europe via railways connecting the three negotiating countries. 2014 test runs showed the route to be 30% cheaper and 40% shorter than current shipping through the Mediterranean.
The corridor is also an attempt by Iran, free from European sanctions, to position itself as a critical economic juncture between Europe and East Asia. With more than 5 million tons of cargo expected to ship through the line annually— most of which will end up in Europe — Iran looks to make billions off of transit fees while deepening economic ties with its security partner in Russia.
With the corridor expected to come online within the next few years and China investing in its own “Silk Road”, expect to see a long-term increase in trans-Asian land trade.
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