STATE-RUN China National Transportation Equipment & Engineering Co Ltd (CTC) is close to finalising an agreement on the US$3 billion rail project to connect Tehran with the north eastern holy city of Mashhad, a Chinese source told Reuters.
Iran's Tasnim News Agency reported a lower cost of $2 billion for the project, which it said would take 42 months to build.
Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co, also state-owned, has been in talks to build containerships and tankers for Iran, according to two sources.
China, Iran's largest trading partner and long-time ally, has agreed to boost bilateral trade by more than 10 times to $600 billion in the next decade.
With Iran no longer subject to sanctions, Beijing sees the country as part of its policy to increase trade and open new markets for its firms as the domestic Chinese economy slows.
For the 930-kilometre (580 mile) rail project, China's Export and Import Bank (EXIM) is expected to fund 85 per cent of the cost, with CTC providing engineering, procurement and construction services, said the source.
China EXIM Bank is Beijing's designated policy lender for large trade deals and overseas investments by Chinese firms.
Top Dalian shipyard executives have visited Tehran three times since January, meeting their counterparts at the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and the National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC), the sources said.
Source : HKSG.