TEHRAN - Iran's Minister of Transport and Urban Development has announced that the government plans to connect the Chabahar port in southeastern Iran to the country's railway network through the city of Zahedan by the end of the current Iranian year ( late March 2025).

"Our entire effort is to complete the Chabahar-Zahedan rail section by the end of the year and put it in the service of the country's transit development," Mehrdad Bazrpash told reporters on Monday after signing a contract with India to develop the port of Chabahar.

India has been developing Chabahar on Iran’s southeastern coast along the Gulf of Oman to facilitate the transfer of goods to Iran, Afghanistan, and central Asian countries, as an alternative to the ports of Karachi and Gwadar in rival Pakistan.

Additionally, Bazrpash said he proposed a plan to Indian officials to launch a joint shipping company between Iran and India to expand transit routes in the region. "This proposal will be officially presented soon," he added.

The minister noted that the transit container line between Iran, China, and India is running regularly, and its transit volume grew by more than 154% last calendar year.

"With the development of the Chabahar port, we hope to see an even greater increase in this transit volume," he said.

Speaking about the joint project, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari also said that the Chabahar deal is "good news for exporters, importers and transit in Iran and other Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Russia, and the Caucasus".

He said that measures have been taken to facilitate the transit of goods from Iran to Central Asia and the Caucasus until the Chabahar-Khash railway becomes operational.

"In this regard, 150 trucks are transporting cargo through this route to Central Asia and the Caucasus," he said.