mana.ir

News ID: 66178 |
Publish Date: 13:04 - 02 July 2016
Why Silk Road?
In recent decades, China along with other South Asian countries experienced economic growth which accordingly demanded economical and efficient transportations. In fact, the need gave rebirth to so-called Silk Road which used to be the most important route to connect east and west for over 17 centuries. However, the new version is equipped by railroad and modern trains along with safe and fast highways. 
Rebirthing the Silk Road is important mainly because the route lowers the costs and simultaneously keeps the East Asian products to west at competitive prices. Iran always played a key role in this route and was considered the gate to Europe. The country aims to resume its historical role in this route and it seems there are some issues to consider. That is why MANA reporter went to the relevant experts.
Easy regulations and investment, the primary needs
Behzad Seifollahi as one of the best experts in the realm of ports and maritime remarked Iran’s location as strategic and unique and stated: to revive the trade routes such as the Silk Road, special software is required. The software evidently demands huge investment and part of such investment has been accomplished while the rest demands the government to play a role.
Seifollahi also divided the Silk Road to three sections of road, railroad and air transportation and continued: the sections need reformations including widening the roads as well as providing special facilities for the trucks to commute in east-west route through Iran to reach Turkey and east of the Caspian Sea. 
He believes that the Iranian railroads in the east- west route needs attention and can be easily upgraded through investment. He also stated that: easy regulations and foreign investment are the two key factors to expand Iran railroad and consequently speed up the transportation in the region.
Seifollahi asserted that air transportation suffers from lack of attention and stated that: Imam Khomeini airport is 1000 high from the sea level which has made it incomparable to its counterparts in the region such as Dubai airport. He subscribes to the opinion that Iran is one of the best air corridors from Europe to Asia and Australia. He also added that establishing such a corridor does not require a huge investment and setting up the required software and imposing easy regulations can make it happen. 
Silk Road to Change Global Transportation Game
MalekReza Malekpur as a transportation expert and the former port manager reminded the recent entrance of Chinese train to Iran which was indicative of Chinese officials’ desire to revive the Silk Road and pointed out that: Iran is one of the main parts of the route and we need to speed up the transportation in the Silk Road in Iranian part by upgrading railroads. He also reminded a parallel route which connects Auktao Port in Kazakhstan and Turkmenbashi port in Turkmenistan to Baku port in Azerbaijan and finally Europe and called the route quite costly compared to the Silk Road.
Malekpur commented that the Chinese showed their interest on operating through Iran by dispatching the train to Iran and transferred the message that they are eager to work through Iran rather than other routes if only the railroads are upgraded. Malekpur called the Silk Road a great opportunity for Iran to interact with international partners and resume its role in global trade through attracting foreign investment especially in post-sanction era.
Despite Seifollahi, Malekpur does not recognize the road part of the Silk Road economical and emphasized that: the Silk Road is economical if only the railroads are upgraded and facilitated for mass transportation. He also remarked that maritime shipping is a more economical way of transportation compared to worn out railroads.
He predicted that upgrading the infrastructure in Iran will make handsome money to Iran through fees. However, the money is not comparable to the logistic opportunities regarding international transportation.
Malekpur as the former manager of Shahid Rajaee Port asserted that: global network of distribution is considered one of the most lucrative parts of any economy and Iran can take advantage of its strategic location and infrastructure capabilities.
Malekpur claims that Iran is the most available and natural way for trade transportation for CIS countries and suggested that: CIS companies can establish joint venture companies with their Iranian counterparts and operate in Makran virgin seashores through the investments and eventually reform the global supply chain pattern. In fact, taking advantage of wise management and resuming the role of Iran in world trade, CIS trade will be highly affected and consequently, BRICS countries head into Iran to deal with CIS markets and that is how the global .transportation pattern will undergo changes
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