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Advance International, a freight forwarder based in Istanbul, Turkey, has formed a new joint venture to market rail capacity throughout Russia and other countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria, Arrow Railway Forwarding PLC has gained exclusive rights to market capacity of Russian Railways (RZD) in Azerbaijan and Georgia through First Freight Co., a recently launched subsidiary of RZD. Advance International holds a 50-percent share of Arrow, with local commercial interests owning the remainder. Arrow claims access to more than 300,000 rail wagons of every type, with the ability to transport everything that is moved by rail. First Freight has announced plans to acquire more than 70,000 additional wagons by 2012. RZD also intends to refurbish more than 17,000 freight cars and nearly 800 locomotives this year. Advance International will arrange documentation and letters of credit for the new service where required, with liability insurance cover and FIATA bills of lading from any origin within the CIS to any destination. The service will include the handling of shipments to and from Iran and Iraq, via the company's Astara Transit Terminal on the Azerbaijani and Iranian border.
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