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Glass and gas shipments demonstrate the advantages of Astara Transit Terminal

Iran: Saturday, August 18 - 2007 @ 10:23

One recent contract has seen an Iranian float glass manufacturer switch its export gateway from Bandar Anzali to the Astara Transit Terminal.

Until this switch, 40% of the manufacturer’s glass shipments were damaged, as its chosen route included so many transhipment points and different modes of transport, which increased the likelihood of breakages.

Istanbul-based forwarder Advance International, a major shareholder in the Astara Transit Terminal, now arranges for the float glass to be shipped by truck to the terminal and then by rail to various destinations in the CIS. Breakages have been reduced to almost zero, assisted by the fact that only one transhipment point is involved.

Jawad Kamel, Advance International President and CEO, said: “Before it was transported via the Astara Transit Terminal, this traffic moved by truck from the factory to Bandar Anzali, then by ship to Astrakhan, and by road to the warehouse. After Customs formalities, the glass was loaded onto yet another mode, as it was sent by rail to its final destination in the CIS or Russia.

“With so many transhipments, it is no surprise that there were shipments in which 40% of the glass was broken. The number of transhipments also meant that the transit time could be up to ten weeks in winter, or 50 days in the summer.

“Now, the same shipments via the Astara Transit Terminal, can be delivered from the Iranian factory to final destination in just 15 days and with only one transhipment.”

The Astara Transit Terminal, which was redeveloped and reopened last year, is also proving its worth to Iranian importers. To the final destination in Iran and Iraq, the average transit times from cargo origin in Europe is between 18-22 days, or 16-18 days from the CIS and 12-15 days from Russia.

Sumy Frunze, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of equipment for the oil, gas and chemical industries, has engaged Advance International to move gas-pumping stations, from the Ukraine to Iran for two of eight gas pipelines that are to be built in Iran.

By 2011, more than 40 stations will be purchased by the Iranian National Gas Company and positioned along the new pipelines. Advance is moving equipment for the pumping stations, which include base pumping compressor units, each of which weighs more than 60 tons, as well as reducing stations in excess of 37 tons in weight.

Every 15 days, two trains transport the equipment via rail from the Sumy manufacturing plant in the Ukraine to the Astara Transit Terminal. From there, each unit is transhipped and transported on an 11-axle line low-bed low-loader for delivery to the gas pumping stations located on the two new gas pipelines which transport gas from Asaluyeh in Southern Iran to Tehran and the Pakistan border. Additional items of equipment are transported to the job sites using standard Iranian trailers.

Adds Jawad Kamel: “Before its break-up, the former Soviet Union was a main supply corridor by rail from Western Europe to Iran via the Soviet-Iranian border at Djulfa.

“However, in 1988 the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia disrupted this route, cutting the rail connection between Eastern and Western Azerbaijan and preventing cargoes from using the traditional border crossing at Djulfa to and from Iran.

“Cargo had to be re-routed, either by sea to the Iranian Gulf ports or by road via Turkey. Other alternatives were by rail via Russia to the Caspian Sea port of Astrakhan and then by conventional shipping to the Iranian port of Bandar Anzali or, during May to October only, the Volga River.

“There is also a very long rail route from Russia to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the Iranian border where transhipment could be made from Russian broad gauge to Iranian standard gauge rail wagons.

“All of these alternatives are either more costly or not as efficient for shippers in Iran which are crying out for more freight capacity on routes to and from Europe. The new Astara Transit Terminal heralds the return of a vital Central Asian transport artery giving shippers faster transit times, as well as more direct and secure service.”

The terminal can handle all types of cargo, including break bulk, 20’ and 40’ containers (including heavy lift) and outsize cargoes up to 120 tonnes, within the rail-loading gauge.

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Saturday, August 18- 2007 @ 10:23 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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