Authorities said on Saturday that the KACH would start building the RO-RO ramp in the Caspian Port Complex, located North of Iran in the port city of Anzali.
They said the project would need nearly $10 million in investment and would take two years to finish.
“This project in a national one and is important to the country,” said Head of the Anzali Free Trade Zone Organization (AFTZO) Reza Masrour. The AFTZO is the local body which has awarded the contract for building the ramp.
“Once the RO-RO ramp is finished and the port is linked to the rail network, Iran would become a transit corridor between China and European countries,” Masrour said.
Ro-RO terminals are for ships and ferries that accommodate wheeled cargo, including cars, trucks and similar equipment.
Setting up such facilities on the Caspian Sea would enable China and Russia to dock their large ships at Anzali and transfer their export cargo via Iran.
Masrour said that the facility would be specifically of interest to China and its cargo vessels that sail from Kazakhstan’s port of Aktau.
Head of KACH, a major engineering and construction company linked to Iran’s elite military force the IRGC, said the company would invest up to $6 billion for the construction of the RO-RO ramp in Anzali.
Saeid Mohammad said after the signing of the contract with AFZO authorities in Tehran that the ramp would be 90 meters long and 26 meters wide while a hinterland of 7.6 hectares would be attached to the facility to serve imports and exports.
Authorities say the Caspian Port Complex would host a total of 22 ramps, including the RO-RO one, once it is fully completed.
Last month, senior officials of Iran and Russia agreed to establish a ferry route in the Caspian Sea to link the ports of the two countries for tourists and passengers.
Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanayee, in a visit to Derbent, discussed the development of relations between Iran and Russia’s Republic of Dagestan.
During the visit, the two sides discussed the issue of increasing cargo traffic through Makhachkala Commercial Sea Port, as well as the launch of direct passenger and cargo flights between Makhachkala and Tehran.
Among the issues discussed was a plan to set up a direct ferry service linking the two states, with the head of Dagestan’s republic, Vladimir Vasiliev, highly optimistic about the prospect.
He said Derbent attracts many Iranians and the ferry service is expected to help facilitate their commutes.
“[Tehran] is ready to establish sea links with us, and we are ready to cooperate – and everything will work,” Vasilyev told journalists at a press briefing on Sunday.
He said that Iran’s business community had started to take an interest in Dagestan, in particular in Derbent, with a number of international projects already being implemented and set to transform the region.
“International projects are being implemented in Derbent, there are some very interesting solutions there. The city used to have a billion-plus [rubles] annual income, but now it is receiving four billion [rubles] more [from investors],” Vasilyev stated.
Earlier reports regarding cooperation between Dagestan and the Islamic Republic referred to plans to increase the sales turnover between the two sides, particularly to boost lamb exports to Iran from the current 4,000 tons to 6,000 tons by the end of the year.
At present, the volume of trade between Iran and the republics of the North Caucasus is in the ballparks of $54 million.