Spain) Conference on Freedom of Communications and Transi.

General transport situation in 1921. Statements submitted by the states which took part in the first General conference on communications and transit, held in March-April 1921; (Volume 2) online

. (page 27 of 38)
Online LibrarySpain) Conference on Freedom of Communications and TransiGeneral transport situation in 1921. Statements submitted by the states which took part in the first General conference on communications and transit, held in March-April 1921; (Volume 2) → online text (page 27 of 38)
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Owing to the absence of transport facilities over the Caucasus, goods
from European countries except Russia, destined for the North-West


of Persia, which are too heavy or too bulky to be sent by the posting ser-
vices, must all follow this road. The distance from Trebizond to Tabriz is
about 1,100 km., and from Tabriz to Teheran 630 km. On Persian territory
the road is practicable for vehicles from Khoi to Tabriz and from Tabriz
to Teheran. Tabriz can be reached from Trebizond on horse-back in 20
days. From Tabriz to Teheran there are no posting relays, but the distance
may be traversed in about ten days by means of vehicles belonging to private

Transport of Goods.

(a) From Trebizond to Tabriz :

Average length of journey : during the summer 75 days, during the
winter 45 days.

Average cost 1 : (i) Imports (Trebizond to Tabriz): in bales, about 390
krans per cantar of 230 kgs ; in cases, about 420 krans per cantar. (2) Ex-
ports (Tabriz to Trebizond) : 140 krans per camel-load of 80 batmans.

(b) Tabriz to Teheran :

Average length of journey : by horse, 25-30 days ; by camel, 40 days.

Average cost 1 : (i) by mule and horse, 5 krans per batman of 1,280
miscals ; (2) by camel, 4 krans per batman of 1,280 miscals.

The total journey from Trebizond to Teheran may be completed in
three months. The cost from Tabriz amounts to 75-80 tomans per 100

(2) Khoi to Tabriz: 136 km.

(3) Khoi-Urmia-Savuchbulagh : 190 km.

(4) Quetta-Nushki (British India) to Meshed via Seistan.

This is a very fine road fit for vehicular traffic along its whole length.
Tt has been kept in perfect order and was improved during the war, and
is used for the traffic of goods from Bombay and Karachi.

The present terminus of the railway which has been built from Nushki
to Seistan is Duzdab, 52 km. south of Malek-Siah (on the South-Eastern
frontier of Persia).

(a) Road from Kuh-Malek-Siah to Nosratabad (Seistan), 155 km.
This road is used by motor-lorries. Transport by caravan from Kuh-
Malek-Siah to Nosratabad takes 5 to 6 days.

1 These transport prices were those in force before the war. In view of
the disturbed state of Armenia, through which goods from Trebizond to Persia
must pass, traffic is very much reduced.


(b) Road from Nosratabad to Birjond, 384 km. This carriage-road,
which has been greatly improved, may be used by motors. Length of jour-
ney by caravan, 14 or 15 days.

(c) Road from Kuh-Malek-Siah to Birjand, via Palang Kuh and Konek
456 km. Extensive works have been carried out to put this road into
working order, and to bring water along its whole length.

This road is at present used by motor-lorries. It is very safe and it is
the shortest motor-route from India to Birjand and Meshed.

The journey by caravan from Meshed to Kuh-Malek-Siah - Birjand
takes 15 days.

(d) The road from Birjand, to Meshed via Torbat, 456 km. A natural
road for vehicular traffic, used by motors. Extensive works will be under-
taken upon it in order to allow waggons and motors to use it for fast traffic.

From Birjand to Meshed the journey by caravan takes 20 days.

(5) Herat (Afghanistan) to Meshed via Keriz and Tor bat-Sheikh- Jan.

Natural carriage road to the frontier, 240 km. Average length of jour-
ney from the Persian frontier to Meshed : 8-12 days. Average cost, 150-200
krans per 100 batmans.

(6) Meshed to Teheran,

This is a carriage-road 900 km. long; it is used particularly by pilgrims
proceeding to the holy town of Meshed.

(7) Bagdad to Teheran via Kermanshah.

This road was of great importance even before the war, as it served
for traffic with Mesopotamia, and was used by pilgrims to the holy towns
of Kerbela and Nejif ; it has become even more important now that a
railway line has been built from Basra to Baghdad, with an extension to
the Persian frontier. It is maintained in good condition, and is connected
with Hamadan and with the road to Kazvin and also with that from Kazvin
to Teheran. The future Baghdad-Teheran railway will take this road.

Distance from Basra to Baghdad, 820 km. along the Tigris ; from
Baghdad to Teheran 800 km. by carriage-road. The road from Baghdad
to Kermanshah has been rendered available for the transport of goods,
and is now quite safe. Goods, unloaded at Basra, are sent up the Tigris
as far as Baghdad, and are forwarded to Kermanshah by various means.
All restrictions imposed during the war on imports and exports from
Mesopotamia have been abolished. Trade ha?, therefore, again become
entirely free. Moreover, goods in transit through this territory do not,
at present, pay more in transit charges than one-tenth of the import dues.

The Pushti-Kuh road has been completely abandoned in favour of
the Baghdad-Kasri-Shirin road. Its position is, therefore, what it was
before the war, that is to say, that theAli Garbhi or Amara road is only
used for the goods importation into Persia of destined for the inhabitants
of the Pushti-Kuh territory.


The use of the railway from Baghdad to Ghezel Rabat, the last station
open for passenger and goods traffic, (although the rail has reached Kuretu,
a place situated on the frontier, about 13 km. north of Kasri-Shirin)
has resulted in a considerable decrease in the cost of transport. The decrease
in the price of cereals has also appreciably contributed to this reduction.

The tcharvedars are in charge of the forwarding of the goods by
railway. At the point of departure they group these goods in such a way
as to form complete loads, as the railway administration does not accept
other methods of transport. Registered parcels will not be accepted until
later, when the operation of the line by the military authorities has ter-

The following are the new transport rates :

1. Goods. The cost of transport per kharvar and length of journey:
(a) By tcharvedars :

From Baghdad to Kermanshah, including cost of transport by rail :
250 krans, about 12 days.

From Kermanshah to Hamadan : 220 krans, about 6 days.
From Hamadan to Teheran : 250 krans, about n days.

(b} Per posting waggon :

From Khanikim to Kermanshah : 350 karns, 3 days.
From Kermanshah to Hamadan : 350 karns, 3 days.

2. Passengers.

By wagon By carriage By carriage

From Khanikin to Ker- to hold 4 to hold 8

manshah 90.50 718 586 krans.

From Kermanshah to

Hamadan 73 668 516 >

Length of journey : 30 to 40 hours.

Private carriages may be hired on similar terms.

(8) Ahwas (situated on the river Karun) to Teheran by Ispahan.

This road serves for traffic from Mohammerah (a port on the Persian
Gulf situated at the mouth of the Karun). Goods are loaded on vessels
plying on the river, and are unloaded at Ahwaz ; total length of journey,
865 kilometres.

(9) From Bushire (Persian port situated on the Persian Gulf) to Teheran
via Shiraz ^50,000 inhabitants) and Ispahan (80,000 inhabitants.)

This road is 1,332 kilometres long. The importance of the section from
Bushire to Ispahan has decreased since the road Mohammerah-Ispahan
has been used for traffic ; this road is chiefly used for the transport of
goods to Shiraz; the "kotals",or steep rocks on this road, between Bushire


and Shiraz are difficult to surmount. It may be divided in four sections,
three of which are only possible to caravans, while the other has recently
been rendered available for vehicular traffic.

The road from Shiraz to Ispahan is also suitable for vehicular traffic.

(10) From Bender-Abbas, a port on the Persian Gull to Kerman (70,000
inhabitants J.

This road, which is 520 kilometres long, is divided into four sections,
one of which has recently been rendered available for vehicular traffic.

Note. The above information applies to times when commercial
relations are normal, which is not yet the case. In consequence, of the
Great War, from which Persia has also suffered, the high-roads have been
greatly disorganised, and goods from Europe are not carried by the roads
running to the North beyond Iran. If free transit is granted across the
Caucasus, the former caravan road from Trebizond to Tabriz will be com-
pletely abandoned.

As a result of the high price of forage and the frequent lack of means
of transport, the cost of forwarding goods is variable and very high.

Motor Transport.

Motors and motor-lorries run on most of the Persian routes available
for vehicular traffic, but no regular service has yet been established. Sche-
mes are at present under consideration, and negotiations have been entered
upon with certain business concerns. This means of transport is doubtless
destined in a short time to attain a very considerable development, as
the construction of railways is a very lengthy affair.

As is well known, petroleum is the greatest national product of Persia
and its exploitation in the South is daily increasing. In the North the
wells at Baku are close at hand and Persia herself possesses along the whole
of the Caspian Sea coast, very rich petroleum-bearing territory which has
hitherto not been exploited. There will, therefore, be no lack of fuel.


Navigation and the right to a flag are free in the Persian Gulf, the
Shat-el-Arab, the River Karun and the Caspian Sea. (The rights of Persia
in respect of the Caspian Sea are derived from the new Commercial Treaty
with Russia).

(a) Navigation on the Caspian Sea is carried on principally by Russian
vessels whose ports of register are Astrakan and Baku. Enzeli is the most


important port in the North of Persia ; it was constructed so as to allow
vessels to lie alongside the quay. It serves the regions of Gilan, Teheran
and Central Persia.

General traffic of the ports of the Caspian Sea (in tons imported and
exported) before the War, after the War, and at the present time.

Names of Ports : Astara, Talesh, Enzeli, Hassan- Kiadeh, Lengarud, Ru-
desser Tunekabum, Farahabad, Farikenar, Mashedisser, Bender-Ghez.

Year 1913-14 Year 1918-19 Year 1919-20

Sailing-vessels .

Total : ...

Number Tonnage Number Tonnage Number Tonnage
1,900 780,000 1,393 737,36i 1,300 750,000
1,750 24,000 5,066 62,877 1,900 55,ooo

. 3,650 804,000 5,459 800,238 3,200 805,000

(b) The ports of the Persian Gulf are visited chiefly by British vessels.
Bushire is the most important port ; it possesses two anchorages, one on
the exterior road (white light) five miles from the town, and the other
inside the port (red light) two and a half miles from the Customs House.
This latter roadstead is separated from the Bay of Bushire by a bar which
is only accessible to vessels with a draught less than 7 feet. But the bay
itself is very deep. All sailing-vessels which wish to pass the bar, load and
unload there. The canal mentioned above, which separates the two road,
steads, is provided with two floating lights, one white and one red. This
canal can be traversed by any steamer with a draught not exceeding 18 feet.
In recent years, to avoid the delays resulting from the ebb and flow of the
tide, the majority of steamers discharge their cargoes in the outer road
stead. The port of Bushire possesses about 400 sailing-vessels, and this
number is increasing every year. For this reason coastal traffic between
the large and small Persian ports on the Persian Gulf has attained consi-
derable importance. This traffic is about equal to that between Bushire
and Shiraz.

Mohammarah, on the Shat-el-Arab, is accessible to sea-going vessels,
and possesses a calm and safe roadstead.

Before the war, the ports of the Persian Gulf were regularly served by
English, Russian and German steamships. The English vessels plied
between British ports, Antwerp or Marseilles, India and the Persian Gulf.
The Russian steamships connected Odessa with the Persian ports. The
German vessels connected Hamburg and Antwerp with the same points
of the Gulf. During the war these shipping services were disorganised,
and up to the present they have not been resumed.

General Traffic of Ports on the Persian Gulf (In tons imported and
exported before war, after the war, and at present).

Names of Ports : Bushire, Lingah, Bender-Abbass, Charbar, Jask, Moham-
marah, Abadan.


Year 1913-14 Year 1918-19 Year 1919-20

Number Tonnage Number Tonnage Number Tonnage

Steamships... 1,200 1,900,000 1,020 2,027,962 650 1,400,000

Sailing-vessels. 2,800 90,000 7,720 260,824 4,890 165,000

Total : 4,000 1,990,000 8,740 2,288,786 5,540 1,565,000

(c) Maritime Steam Navigation Service for the Persian ports of the
Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf.

Caspian Sea.

(i) "Caucasus and Mercury Company" and "Vostotchnoe Obchstvo".

This company provides for regular communication both ways, during
part of the year, between Baku-Astara-Enzeli ; between Baku-Bender-
Ghez-Mashedisser ; between Baku-Enzeli-Mashedisser-Bender-Ghez.

(a) Bahu-Enzeli Line direct service in 20 hours. The prices for the
conveyance of passengers and goods have considerably increased ; at the
end of 1918 to 1919 they were :

Enzeli to Baku Baku-Enzeli

ist class passengers 150 kr. 375 roubles

2nd class passengers 120 kr. 250 roubles

3rd class passengers 35 kr. 100 roubles
Goods, 15 krans per pood.

(b) Astrakan-Mashedisser Line.

This service has been completely suspended since Astrakan and the
Volga region have been in the hands of the Bolsheviks.

(c) Baku-Krasnovodsk Line.

This service is disorganised as the result of military necessities and has
been carried on irregularly during almost the whole of the year 1918-1919.

(d) Baku-Mashedisser Line.

For the same reasons as those mentioned above, the vessels which
serve this line no longer call at Krasnovodsk ; on the other hand, they
call at Hassan Guli, at Gumuche-Tape and sometimes at Khaje Nefez.

(e) Baku-Bender Ghez via Astara-Enzeli-Mashedisser Line.

A regular weekly sendee, which has been periodically suspended as
a result of the movements of the Bolsheviks, was established between
these localities in the last months of 1918 to 1919.


(2) Various companies.

Apart from the regular maritime steam navigation services indicated
above, there are on the Caspian a large number of irregular services which
it is not possible to indicate clearly in the list, but the most important are
the following shipping lines : Alioff Brothers, Gani Memedeff, Baba Ghelieff
and the "Samaliod", "Rousse" and "Russo-Caucase" Companies.

Persian Gulf.

Up to the outbreak of the European War in 1914, the steamships
of the various lines indicated below provided regular sendees for the
principal ports of the Persian Gulf. These lines had agencies established
in all these ports.

British Navigation Lines.

1. British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

India-Persian Gulf.

2. Strick Line Ltd.

British Isles Marseilles Persian Gulf.

3. Bicknall-Ellerman Line.

British Isles Persian Gulf.

4. The Hall Line Ltd.

British Isles Antwerp Persian Gulf.
4. Flower Motor Ship Co. Ltd.

British Isles Persian Gulf.

6. Bombay Persia Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

India Persian Gulf.

7. Arab Steamers Ltd.

India Persian Gulf.

8. Persian Gulf Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

India Persian Gulf.

Russian Navigation Line

Compagnie Russe de Navigation et de Commerce.
Odessa Persian Gulf.

German Navigation Line.

Ham burg- America Line.

Hamburg Antwerp Persian Gulf.


The only maritime steam navigation services which served the Persian
ports of the Persian Gulf during the financial year 1918 and 1919 are the
following :

(1) British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

(Weekly service Bombay-Basrah).

The quantity of goods transported by the steamers of this company
is limited. But from time to time a special boat calls at the Persian ports
in order to expedite the transport of goods destined for the Gulf which
have accumulated at Bombay or at Karachi. The freight rates have risen
by 40 rs. per cubic ton at 120 rupees. Small steamers belonging to the
British India Company call, both going and returning, at Muscat, Henjam,
Bushire, Mohammera and Basra. At Henjam these small steamers connect
with Bender-Abbas and Lingah by means of the coastguard customs
vessels "Gilan" and "Mazanderan", only as regards the transport of mails,
passengers and their luggage, pearls, and consignments of specie.

(2) Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation. (Irregular service.)

(3) Arab Steamers Ltd. (Irregular service.)

(4) Persian Gulf Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. (Irregular service.) A
few boats called at the Persian ports of the Persian Gulf during the year
1918 to 1919.

(5) Arab Line Ltd. (Irregular service.) A few boats visited the ports
of the Persian Gulf during the year 1918 to 1919. This line at present
only possesses two steamers. During the above-mentioned financial year,
this company chartered Japanese vessels of the Mitsui Kaisha Company.

A small number of other vessels chartered in India by private indivi-
duals also called at ports of the Persian Gulf during the year 1918 to 1919.

(6) The Mesopotamia Persia Corporation Ltd. (ex Lynch Brothers).
Regular service by launches running twice a day, Sunday excepted, for
passengers between Mohammerah and Bassora and vice versa.


Persia cannot, in general, make use of her river waterways for purposes
of communication and transport, as they are not navigable, with the
exception of the great river Karun (which is now navigable on 200 km.
of its length), and the Shat-el-Arab. The section of the river Karun between
the port of Shelylieh, six miles below Shuster, and the rapids of Ahvaz,
is called the Upper Karun ; and the section between Nassery, south of
the rapids, and Mohammerrah, is called the Lower Karun. On a length
of 180 km., this latter part is at least 4 feet deep at all seasons of the year.
If damming works were carried out on this river, vessels of 500 tons could
ascend as far as Shuster.



The navigation dues per ton on the Karun are as follows :

(a) Steamships i kran.

(b) Sailing vessels % kran.

(c) Ships in ballast Half rates.

(d) Persian sailing vessels of less than 30 tons are exempted from
payment of dues.

As regards the other rivers, transport by vessels of very small ton-
nage is possible for a short distance only on the Gorgan and Atrek
(Turcomania), the Babel (Manzenderan), the Sefid-rund, the Rudbar, the
Tchemkhaleh and the Khumamrud (Gilan).

Persia is a riparian State of the Shat-el-Arab from the Persian Gulf
as far as Mohammera. The Shat-el-Arab is a watercourse for long-distance
traffic ; it bears the same name upstream from the Persian frontier as far
as the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and has no source of its
own. Neither the Tigris nor the Euphrates is a main stream or a tributary
of the other ; they are both tributaires of the Shat-el-Arab, which, in Persian
territory, receives the water of another river, the Karun, which is navigable
from the sea. The Karun is a national river, opened by Persia in 1888
to the commerce of all nations. A large part of the goods from abroad
proceed via the Tigris, over a length of 820 km., to the Persian markets,
passing through Baghdad ; at present they are carried by Persian sailing

Traffic of the Harbours of the Karun (in tons imported and exported) before
the war, after the war, and at present.) - - Names of Ports : Nasseri
(Ahwaz), Shuster.

Year 1913-14 Year 1918-19 Year 1919-20

Number Tonnage Number Todnage Number Tonnage
Steamships.... 240 27,000 262 17,630 200 18,000
Sailing vessels. 415 4,000 796 15,438 300 6,000

Total : .... 655 31,000 1,058 33,068 5oc

) 24,000















































Average value of the kran :
(i) Frs. 0.45 (2) Frs. 0.40
Frs. 0.89 - (6) Frs. 0.91.

(3) Frs. 0.44 (4) Frs 0.77 (5)



The situation of the railways in Poland is exceptionally serious. In
the whole territory of former Russian Poland, the length of the railways,
compared with the area of the country, was far from meeting economic
needs. During the war the whole system was several times destroyed.
The same is true of the railways in former Austrian Poland, and
the last Bolshevist invasion has resulted in dilapidations which, in the
majority of cases, it has not yet been possible to repair. The principal
effort of the Polish Railway Administration has been centred on the re-
construction of the stations, which were almost everywhere destroyed,
and on relaying the tracks. The following example shows the extent of
the destruction : The Warsaw-Grodno- Vilna line, one of the principal
lines in the country, can at present only be partially used because the
large bridge of the valley of the Niemen, near Grodno, was twice destroyed,
and it has not yet been possible to repair it.

At -the present moment certain lines are still of only relative impor-
tance, because the Russian Gouvernment, for reasons of a strategic nature,
was always opposed to joining up its system with the German and Austrian
systems ; so that with few exceptions, the lines in former Russian Poland
stopped 10 or more km. from the old frontier. The Railway Administration
is at present engaged in connecting the various sections of its system.
There is still about 700 km. of broad-gauge Russian track, all of which
will be cou verted into standard gauge in the near future.

The shortage of rolling stock cannot be exaggerated. The lines of
former Russian Poland, which were always insufficiently equipped, were
left entirely without rolling stock. All the rolling stock which Poland
has at present, consists of the locomotives and wagons which could not
be withdrawn from the Polish territory at the end of the war by the occu-
pying administrations. This stock is very limited. It is dissimilar in charac-
ter and of inferior quality, because the Polish theatre of operations, towards
the end of the war, was only of secondary concern to the Central Empires.



The manufacture of locomotives and wagons is still impossible, because
before 1914 all the rolling stock on the railway systems in the three sections
of Poland were supplied by factories outside Polish territory. For the
same reason it is very difficult to repair damaged stock and the material
for this purpose is quite inadequate.

Under the Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain, Poland is entitled
to a specified share in the distribution of German and Austrian rolling
stock. Unfortunately it has not been possible to complete this distribution
up to the present ; this regrettable delay has already caused considerable
difficulties to the Polish Government, and in the interests of the normal
operation of the railways, the distribution should be completed in the shor-
test possible period.

The purchase of rolling stock from abroad has only been possible in
very small quantities owing to the present condition of the Polish exchange.

The shortage of coal has a considerable effect on the operation of the
Polish railways. Before the war a large part of the coal used was imported
from Upper Silesia. In spite of the favourable decisions of the Inter-Allied
Coal-Distribution Commission, up to the present unjustifiable difficulties
have been put in the way of Germany's delivery of Upper-Silesian coal.




Length of track operated by the Polish State Railways and the condition

of the Rolling-stock.

Railway Directorates

gauge ;




Warsaw Km.




1 176




1 912


Cracow ,,





Lemberg ,,



1 787


Stanislawow ,,



Posen .".... ,

1 552









Danzig .




No data

Free City of Danzig ,,





Kilometres . . .





Online LibrarySpain) Conference on Freedom of Communications and TransiGeneral transport situation in 1921. Statements submitted by the states which took part in the first General conference on communications and transit, held in March-April 1921; (Volume 2) → online text (page 27 of 38)