346 - Iran railways - VitaliRail Freight

Is railway ready for post-sanction era?

Sanctions for Iran applied by UN, EU and USA had recently been lifted officially.

Many industries from oil companies to plane producers have been looking forwart to this new era which is expected to create USD 250 bn commercial traffic. One of them is railway industry, which is interested in Iran’s railway plans of USD 10 bn within next 10 years.

Turkey has not got an important share from transit rail traffic until today. Can this change in this new era? Here’s a SWOT analysis for the Turkish rail corridor connecting Europe to Iran:

  • The shortest rail path from Europe to Iran.
  • Same rail gauge with Europe and Iran, only rail connection to Iran without break-of-gauge.
  • Many local and global railway companies settled in Turkey due to huge rail investments in Turkey.
  • Turkish rail logistics companies have partners in Iran.
  • Biggest portion of international rail freight towards Iran carried by TCDD wagons.
  • Iran’s sea container lines are yet weak.
  • Rail freight is the best mode for transportation of rail and rail cars.


  • Van Lake passing is slow, capacity is low, ferries are very short.
  • There are security problems on way.
  • Transit time from Bulgarian-Turkish border to Turkish-Iran border is very long due to two ferries on way and limited transport on Kosekoy-Bilecik section.


  • Cultural similarities with Iran may be advantage for Turkish companies.
  • New ferries may improve capacity problem of Van Lake.
  • Completion of Marmaray Project and accepting freight trains may shorten transit time.
  • Turkish companies have capacity to supply Iran’s railway infrastructure projects.
  • Liberalization may speed up the trains in Turkey.


  • Iran may supply from Central Asia, India and China since relationship with them developed fast in recent period.
  • Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan railway connection may be a strong alternative for transportation via Russia and Caspian Sea.
  • If Iran-Azerbaijan railway connection is completed, transportation via Black Sea and Viking Train may be a good alternative for transportation from Europe.
  • The competition for domestic loads after the liberalization in Turkey may overshadow the transit loads.

Cover Photo: V. ©


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