The Armenian Ministry of Transport and Communication, Dubai-based investment company Rasia and Russian Railways (RZD) subsidiary South Caucasus Railway (SCR) have signed a trilateral agreement for the construction of the Southern Armenia Railway.
The agreement covers the construction of a 316km railway linking Gavar, 50km east of Yerevan near Lake Sevar, with the Iranian border near Meghri, as well as a 110km highway in the southern province of Syunik.
The electrified, single-track railway line will be part of a new north-south corridor linking the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Rasia chairman and CEO Joseph Borkowski said: "As the key missing link in the International North-South Transport Corridor, the projects have attracted significant regional interest from both strategic and financial partners waiting to participate in their development."
Following completion, the line will be integrated with the existing railway networks of both Armenia and Iran.
The project is expected to create the shortest transportation link from the ports of the Black Sea to the ports of the Persian Gulf, improving regional connectivity.
In 2012, Armenia signed two concession agreements with Rasia to develop transport projects on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.
The concessions set deadlines for completing feasibility studies, engineering design, project financing, and construction, and both have an operating term of 30 years with an option for a 20-year extension.
Feasibility studies started at the end of December 2012, and Rasia has selected China Communications Construction Company to become the lead member of a consortium that will be responsible for the project.