EghtesadOnline: Iranian small-sized ships will now enjoy services at Al Suwaiq Port in northeast Oman, Chairman of Iran-Oman Chamber of Commerce Mohsen Zarrabi said.
After three years of negotiations, Al Suwaiq Port last week extended services to Iranian ships of less than 1,000 tons carrying food, agricultural products and construction materials to the neighboring country.
According to Abbas Abdolkhani, Iran’s commercial attaché to Oman, the proximity of Al Suwaiq Port to Iran’s ports of Jask and Bandar Abbas, and Oman’s Muscat and Al Khazain would reduce trade costs between the two countries.
“Iranian traders no longer need to send fruits and vegetables to the UAE’s Port of Sharjah for reexportation to Oman,” he was quoted as saying by the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran’s news outlet, according to Financial Tribune.
Al Suwaiq Port started its first official commercial operation on August 31 in the presence of Ahmed Al Futaisi, Omani minister of transport and communications, Times of Oman reported.
The launch came after the successful test operation, which began on August 15, two weeks before the actual commercial operation.
In a statement, the ministry said, “This port will integrate with other major ports in Oman to capitalize on and maximize the potential of the maritime transport sector.”
After its launch, Al Suwaiq will be able to start receiving various commodities, such as general merchandise, livestock, vegetables and fruits from major international markets. The port will also serve as a platform for the private sector to develop and provide support services within and around the port.
Underlining the importance Oman places on Iran as a trade partner, the management of Ithraa, Oman’s investment promotion and export development agency, hosted 50 Iranian business representatives in July to discuss investment opportunities in Oman’s fast growing economy.
Led by senior Ithraa management and supported by government colleagues from the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates, Port of Duqm as well as Sohar Port and Free Zone, the Iranian delegates were given an opportunity to meet key manufacturing and logistics officials, as well as learn about the benefits of setting up business operations in Oman.
“Today’s meetings and presentations were designed specifically to enhance dialogue between Oman and our Iranian counterparts, and capitalize on the existing trade and investment ties enjoyed by our two countries,” said Nasima Balushi, Ithraa’s director general for export development.
“We are open for business and the government is committed to supporting non-oil Omani export growth and encouraging inward investment. Indeed, we are constantly improving our road, air and port networks, which is clearly helping boost foreign investment in the sultanate. This is the message we delivered to our Iranian colleagues,”she added.
Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari and his accompanying delegation paid a visit to Oman to attend the 17th round of Iran-Oman Economic Commission in June.
The two sides discussed development of bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, investment, transport, communications, minerals, oil and gas, manpower and agriculture between the governorate of Musandam and the Iranian province of Hormozgan.
On the sidelines of the joint commission, an export financing agreement was signed to help boost trade between the two neighboring countries.
“By facilitating trade relations and mutual investments, the agreement could eliminate the need for the banking system [for trade transactions] and solve ongoing problems related to the issuance of export guarantees to a great extent,” said Arash Shahraini, a member of the board of directors and technical deputy of Export Guarantee Fund of Iran.
As per the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s data, Iran exported 1.74 million tons of commodities worth $520.71 million to Oman in the last Iranian year (March 2017-18), posting a 24.46% growth and a 4.28% decline in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
The exports mainly included direct reduced iron, semi-finished metal, steel products, low-density oils and related products.
Oman exported 256,936 tons of goods worth $215.92 million to Iran during the period, up 186% and 107% in tonnage and value respectively YOY. Iran mainly imported benzene, pharmaceutical supplements and vehicles from Oman last year.
According to Iran’s Embassy in Oman, as many as 25 trade delegations from the private sector were exchanged between the commerce chambers of the two countries in the fiscal 2017-18.