EghtesadOnline: There are 4.15 million tons of essential goods at Iranian ports, of which Imam Khomeini Port accounts for more than 3 million tons, according to the managing director of Ports and Maritime Organization.
“Corn makes up the lion’s share of these goods with about 2.4 million tons. Wheat, barley, soybeans, rice, sugar, vegetable oils and oilseeds constitute the other goods,” Mohammad Rastad added.
The PMO chief noted that 803,000 tons of essential goods are about to proceed to their final domestic destinations, 405,000 tons are in the customs clearance process and 300,000 tons are at the assessment stage, Fars News Agency reported.
“As we speak, 25 ships are unloading about 589,000 tons of essential goods and 23 container ships with more than 1.7 million tons of essential goods are waiting to enter the ports,” he said.
According to Mehrdad Jamal Arvanaqi, a senior official with the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, the volume of non-containerized unessential goods at Iranian ports is more than 3.3 million tons. “Capital goods and equipment used at production lines and factories make up for 80% of these imports,” he said.
Noting that the outbreak of the new coronavirus in mid-February pushed down loading and unloading operations by 35%, Rastad said the hardest-hit subsector has been marine tourism: only 141,834 passengers have been transported since March 20, indicating a 97% decline year-on-year.
“Since March 20, Iranian ports have handled 172,000 TEU containers of general cargo, which indicate a 35.5% decline compared with the similar period of last year,” he said.
Rastad announced that PMO signed 11 contracts worth 55,290 billion rials ($330 million) with the private sector on construction of terminals, petroleum products reservoirs and warehouses in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20).
“The total value of private sector’s investments in Iranian ports by March 19 stands at 158,000 billion [$940 million] rials,” he said.
“The nominal capacity of commercial ports will improve from 240 million tons to 264 million tons and their container capacity will increase from 7.5 million TEU to 8 million TEU this year.”
Essential Goods Imports at $15.5b
A total of 25.09 million tons of essential goods worth close to $15.5 billion were imported into Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20) to register a 20.77% and 17.13% increase in weight and value respectively, compared with the year before, according to the Spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration Rouhollah Latifi.
Latifi added that this volume of essential goods imports accounted for close to 71% and 35% of the volume and value of last year’s total imports respectively, ISNA reported.
“The imported essential commodities included wheat, sugar, corn, rubber, barley, processed tea, rice, seeds, red meat, soybeans, pulses, paper, fertilizers and industrial machinery,” he said.
Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.
Imam Khomeini Port in southwestern Khuzestan Province is the main hub for the import of essential goods in Iran.
Unloading of non-oil products at Imam Khomeini Port increased by 15% in the month leading to April 19 to reach 1.79 million tons.
“A total of 30 container ships carrying more than 1.74 million tons of essential goods, including animal feed, docked at Imam Khomeini Port during the one-month period,” Director General of Khuzestan Ports and Maritime Organization Adel Deris said.
To help regulate the market during the holy month of Ramadan, more than 1.42 million tons of essential goods were shipped from the port to several destinations across the country via road and rail, he was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
163% Rise in Essential Goods Transport From Chabahar
A total of 278,247 tons of essential goods were transported from Chabahar Port in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province to destinations across the country since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 20), up until May 8, registering a 163% rise compared with the similar period of last year, according to the director general of the provinces’ Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization.
“Sugar, rice, wheat and corn account for most of these essential goods transported to the mainland. The consignments were moved via 10,844 trucks with a 138% increase in the number of issued waybills YOY,” Ayyoub Kord was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
The official added that seven vessels carrying 421,298 tons of essential goods berthed at Chabahar Port during the same period, registering a sixfold and 14-fold rise in the number of incoming vessels and cargo weight respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Chabahar, Iran’s sole oceanic port along the southeastern coast of the country, serves as a transit route linking India, Iran and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.
Hossein Modarres Khiyabani, former deputy minister of industries for commercial affairs, told ILNA last September that in order to incentivize traders to use Chabahar, merchants and businesspeople who use Chabahar's Shahid Beheshti Port will enjoy a 30% discount in customs duties.
He has also been quoted as saying that the government has made it mandatory for two major state-run companies to unload and transport their import cargoes via the facilities of Shahid Beheshti Port terminal rather than their traditional destination at Imam Khomeini Port.
30% Rise in Essential Goods Rail Transport
A total of 220,000 tons of essential goods have been transported via railroads since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 20, registering a 30% rise compared with the similar period of last year, the director general of Commercial Services Coordination Bureau with the Government Trading Corporation said earlier this month.
“Rail and road accounted for 52% and 48% of the transportation of essential goods over the period respectively,” Hassan Nejad-Fallah was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that rail freight transportation is much cheaper compared to road transportation, as it reduces storage and reloading expenses.