Members of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) had agreed to run a container train between Turkey-Iran-Central Asia in 2002. Train was named as Istanbul-Tashkent-Almaty ECO Block Train.
First trial was done on 20th of January 2002. Regular service started in June 2002.
The service was planned to extend to Germany in west, and China in east direction. Turkey and Kazakhstan were nominated for extension. Neither any extension achieved nor Istanbul-Almaty could run regularly as planned.
In reality, countries except Turkey and Iran did not follow the agreement. TCDD, then, cancelled the special discounts for this train. Today, only Iran Railways (RAI) is applying special tariff for ECO Block Container Train, which is far better than TEA container tariff.
TCDD accepts container to train in some stations on the train route. A special red sign of “ECO Block Train” is stamped on CIM, to distinguish from standard TEA tariff.
The costs are as follows for transit Iran route:
Rail Freight : 462 USD/20’ DC – 770 USD/40’ DC
Formality : 9,30 Euro/Wgn
There are some steps to be taken to enpower ECO Block Container Train:
- Restart standard ECO Block Container Train tariff in all countries on way
- Start using common consignment note (CIM/SMGS)
- Speed up Van Lake ferry service and eliminate queus and delays there (new ferries may help this)
- Speed up the transhipments between TCDD/CIS wagons due to railway gauge change and provide sufficient wagon supply at Saraks (Turkmenistan-Iran border) which currently causes long delays
- Provide 12 days transit time as planned (currently it takes 25-30 days in best case)
- Ensure private companies to provide containers for the train (currently shippers buy containers and they are not coming back)
Translation : Onur Uysal