EghtesadOnline: The KTAI corridor, which has recently been launched following last week’s first successful TIR pilot operation from Shahid Rajaee Port in the southern Hormozgan Province to Kyrgyzstan, offers a shorter route from Iran to Central Asia.
The statement was made by Behnam Faramarzian, the caretaker of international transportation and TIR Carnet department of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mining and Agriculture.
“The inauguration of KTAI road corridor would reduce transit time and costs and strengthen transportation infrastructures; we will witness the gradual increase in trade between regional countries and ECO [Economic Cooperation Organization] member states in particular,” he added.
At present, loading and transportation operations in KTAI corridor are carried out by Afghan truck, as Iranian trucks do not take the Afghanistan route due to "lack of security".
“Undoubtedly, we don’t mean to only play the role of forwarding agent here. That would only give us an insignificant share from trade on KTAI road corridor,” he was quoted as saying by Otaghiranonline.ir.
Faramarzian believes that to make Iranian truckers involved in the process, it is better to tap into the contracting model for a portion of their operational needs, wherein both Iranian and foreign road fleet are engaged in transit operations.
“Iranian trailers with Iran TIR carnet carry the freight up to the border with Afghanistan and then Afghan trucks continue forward with Iran TIR carnet. Such model of transportation has also been stipulated in the TIR convention,” he said.
Noting that the participation of private sector, particularly commerce chambers, is of utmost importance to make the KTAI corridor more viable, he said, “First up, though, the electronic exchange of information between customs and the private sector needs to improve to speed up loading and unloading operations. That’s when we might see a more competitive KTAI corridor compared with other transportation routes like Gwadar Port.”
Last week, an official with the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration announced that the first successful TIR pilot operation was carried out from Shahid Rajaee Port to Kyrgyzstan via Afghanistan and Tajikistan—the KTAI corridor.
Mostafa Ayati added that the KTAI corridor offers an alternative, short route between Iran’s southern ports and Central Asian countries.
“Starting at Shahid Rajaee Port, two TIR trucks proceeded to cross Dogharoun border crossing into Afghanistan, then continued their journey to Tajikistan and then to their final destination Kyrgyzstan. With the completion of custom procedure at Dogharoun customs, the KTAI corridor is now officially open for TIR transportation,” he said.
The new trade route opens up the region to trade and development, and enables freight forwarders and transport operators to benefit from significant cost and time savings when transporting goods, the International Road Transport Union reported.
According to World Bank reports, the total population of the four countries along the corridor stands at 128 million people and their combined total GDP equals close to half a trillion dollars. The launch of KTAI corridor is designed to tap into these growing markets.
Given the route’s starting point of Shahid Rajaee Port, traders and transport operators can also opt to take advantage of the intermodal and digital functions of TIR along the corridor, optimizing trade flows and driving growth in the region.
According to the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran's latest report, a total of 13.24 million tons of commodities were loaded and unloaded in Shahid Rajaee Port during the first three months of the current Iranian year (March 20-June 20), registering a 27.11% fall compared with the similar period of last year.
This made Shahid Rajaee the country’s busiest port during the period as in previous reports. Non-oil goods accounted for around 6.55 million tons and oil products for more than 6.68 million tons of the total, showing a 45.19% decline and a 7.76% rise respectively year-on-year.
Located 23 kilometers west of the port city of Bandar Abbas, the capital of Hormozgan Province, Shahid Rajaee is Iran’s biggest container port.
Over half of Iran’s commercial trading is carried out at Shahid Rajaee that also accounts for over 85% of all container throughput in the country.
According to Mohammad Reza Rezaei-Kouchi, the head of Majlis Development Commission, Shahid Rajaee Port has a 6% share in the region’s total container throughput per annum, ILNA reported.