Mehdi Hasan Safari, the Iranian Deputy Minister for Economic Diplomacy, has confirmed that the Iraqi government has, for the very first time, assigned a budget for a key railway project that would link the country’s southern port of Basra to Shalamcheh, an Iranian border town.
Safari recently confirmed that the two countries recently reached an agreement to begin the long-expected construction works when it comes to involving this 32-kilometre railway project after the month of Ramadan in late April.
Apparently, as stated by Safari, Iraq has allocated a budget of almost $230 million for the railway link connecting Shalamcheh and Basra for the very first time.
These comments came a day after Razzaq Muhaibis, the transport minister of Iraq, paid a short visit to Tehran in order to finalise a series of bilateral agreements as well as projects that included this cross-border rail agreement too.
As per the transportation minister of Iraq, Mehrdad, the first phase of the construction when it comes to the Shalamcheh and Basra railway will involve the demining of lands in the border areas, which have remained inaccessible ever since the war between the two countries broke out in the 1980s.
The Iranian companies will then begin construction of the 880-metre modern bridge on the Shatt al Arab river based in Iraq while also launching the track-laying work simultaneously.
The entire project is expected to take 18 months to complete, adding the fact that both Iran and Iraq will be able to extend the timing based on the recent agreements that have been reached between both countries.
According to the experts, the launch of Shalamcheh- Basra railway link will help in phenomenal rise in trade between Iraq and Iran. The project is also bound to give Iran rail access to Syria as well as Jordan through Iraqi territory and will also help Iraq take delivery of cargo through Iran’s large rail network from other nations.