EghtesadOnline: Atotal of 18,000 tons of goods worth $41 million were exported from Razi border crossing in West Azarbaijan’s Khoy County via 813 cargo wagons during the first month of the current Iranian year (March 20-April 19), showing a sevenfold and 20-fold rise in tonnage and value respectively compared with the similar period of last year.
“Razi is the only border crossing between Iran and Turkey, which has not been closed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. All health protocols are being meticulously followed and a disinfection station has been set up at the border so trade between the two sides can continue without any problem,” superintendent of Razi Rail Customs Administration, Seifollah Rasi, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The main exported items were polyethylene, urea, copper ingots and watermelons.
“Some 30,000 tons of goods worth around $40 million were transited through Razi border via 1,400 freight wagons over the same period, registering a 2.5-fold increase in weight year-on-year,” he said.
Rasi noted that since the virus outbreak two months ago, the border crossing has been working round the clock.
A break in fiber optic cable disrupted Iran-Turkey cross-border trade, said spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration Rohollah Latifi earlier this week.
“Since March 16, more than 2,500 wagons have carried cargo to and from Turkey via Razi border-crossing that is Iran’s sole rail connection with the neighboring country. However, fiber optic cable damage has hindered customs data communications between the two sides in recent days,” he said.
Latifi called on Iran Telecommunications Company to immediately address the issue, given the fact that all land border-crossings between the two countries are closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Mehr News Agency reported.
“All border crossings in West Azarbaijan Province are open to trade with the neighboring countries,” a local customs official, Tohid Azarbod, said recently, adding that amid the coronavirus outbreak, customs activities have been shifted from a number of closed border crossings to the northwestern province, particularly Tamarchin and Razi.
The West Azarbaijan Province borders Turkey, Iraq and Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
"Tamarchin [bordering the Iraqi Kurdistan] is now open 24 hours a day. The crossings through Tamarchin border terminal was at an all-time high on April 2 with 600 trucks. A total of 9,741 trucks headed to Iraq over the past month,” he was quoted as saying by ILNA on Wednesday.
Referring to Razi border-crossing where Iran’s sole rail connection with Turkey passes, the official said that so far, more than 2,500 wagons have carried cargo to and from Turkey since Feb. 20.
Iran and Turkey exchanged a total of 54,000 tons of commodities from March 16 to April 13 via railroad, according to Latifi.
“After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Iran, Turkey closed all road and rail connections as of Feb. 22 to prevent the spread of the disease. After negotiations, our railroad connection was restored on March 16. During the period under review, Iran exported 13,537 tons of commodities to Turkey via 567 cargo wagons and imported 40,375 tons in return via 1,088 wagons," the IRICA spokesman was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The exports included polyethylene, paraffin, urea, copper ingots and watermelon.
The imports included banana, paper, wood pulp and tobacco.
According to latest data released by Turkish Statistical Institute, Iran’s trade with Turkey totaled $561.37 million during the first two months of 2020 to register a decrease of 57.72% compared with the corresponding month of 2019.
Iran exported $218.6 million worth of goods to Turkey during the two months under review, indicating a 77.02% decline year-on-year.
Imports stood at $342.77 million, down 8.98% YOY.