INSTC Routes Europe with India for First Time
The western wing of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which offers a shorter multimodal transportation route between Europe and India compared with the Suez Canal way, became operational this week with a Finnish logistics company despatching a consignment from Finland to India.
Despatched on Monday, the consignment will move through Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran and reach Mumbai in about 22 days compared with 40 days taken via the Suez Canal and western European ports.
As many as 32 40ft containers were sent by rail from Vuosaari in Finland. The train will cross Russia and Azerbaijan. The estimated travel time by rail from Vuossari to Astara will be eight days. From Astara, the containers will be transported to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and further shipped to the port of Nava Sheva (Mumbai).
This is the first multimodal shipment along the western branch of the north-south transport corridor, organised after an agreement was signed at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum earlier this month.
Early operationalisation of INSTC had figured prominently during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s India visit. Plans are afoot to link Iran’s Chabahar port with the INSTC.
The relaunch of nuclear talks between Tehran and the international community has raised hopes of formal operationalisation of INSTC. The annual capacity of the route is expected to reach 30 million tonnes.
India also plans to explore a connectivity corridor between the resource-rich Arctic region and INSTC. India is interested in developing infrastructure, a shipping route and harnessing minerals in the Arctic region in a sustainable manner. Russia holds the Arctic Council presidency for 2021-23 and India has planned cooperation with Russia in areas such as promotion of sustainable socio-economic development, LNG projects, navigational access, gas production and liquefaction, and diversified transport corridors.