EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization is planning to build a new oceanic port on Makran Coast in the southern Hormozgan Province and has currently launched studies.
“This new port will be Iran's second oceanic port after Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan and accommodate larger vessels,” Chief Executive of PMO Mohammad Rastad was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
The official noted that the organization is mostly focused on building a container port with a capacity to handle the region’s throughput without reducing the share of other ports like Chabahar or Shahid Rajaee.
Yet, the facility could also be designed to simultaneously handle wholesale cargos and essential goods.
“We want the port to have easy and quick access to different transportation modes. With proper access to rail and road routes, the envisaged port could turn into the region’s transit and transshipment hub,” Rastad said.
“The construction of this new port is estimated to take around five years.”
The strategic Makran region has attracted the attention of many Iranian decision-makers and military officials, particularly after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed the need for developing the region.
In 2014, in a meeting with high-ranking Navy commanders, Ayatollah Khamenei said the issue of the development of Makran Coast is a major task and plans for that region should be carried out more rapidly.
Ayatollah Khamenei has called the region an “undiscovered treasure”. In 2008, he said Iran has focused all of its attention on the Persian Gulf and ignored “our enormous wealth in the Sea of Oman”.
This body of water, he noted, is “the backbone of the Persian Gulf and determines its fate”.
Sea Trade Potential
Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip stretched along southeastern Iran to Pakistan’s Balochistan and borders the coasts of Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman.
The Iranian part of Makran Coast, bordering the two n provinces of Hormozgan and Sistan-Baluchestan, has been earmarked as a prime location for development, as its location makes it ideal for becoming a commercial hub in southern Iran.
The region has high potential for sea trade. It can provide Iran with access to the Indian Ocean by acting as an outlet for landlocked countries in South and Central Asia, while providing an alternative route to deliver goods to Iran bypassing the Strait of Hormuz.
The Special Plan for Development of Makran Region includes three long-term horizons by 2020, 2030 and 2040.
The government has come up with a strategic plan for the development of Makran Coast, by setting guidelines to achieve sustainable development of the region and benefit its indigenous people while lowering social and environmental damage, as the area boasts a wide range of investment opportunities.
It estimates that development projects planned by different bodies, such as the ministries of agriculture, industries and roads, will increase the population of the region to one million by the end of 2020 by creating new jobs and making the region more attractive.
The plan assures fair distribution of businesses and population to prevent centralization. It also aims to create “endogenous development” as opposed to “exogenous development”.
PMO's Latest Report on Iranian Port Traffic
PMO's latest report on the throughput of Iran's main commercial ports shows Iran’s 21 major ports handled 38.41 million tons of goods in the first four months of the current fiscal year (March 20-July 21), down 28.06% compared to the same period of last year.
Non-oil goods accounted for more than 25.15 million tons of the total throughput, which was down 34.35% year-on-year. The remaining 13.26 million tons were oil products, registering a 12.06% decline.
Container loading and unloading reached 425,899 TEUs, marking a 39.7% decline.
Close to 16.48 million tons of goods were exported and over 10.49 million tons imported, registering a 33.14% and 8.98% decline respectively YOY.
An estimated 842,258 tons of goods were in transit during the same period, down 49.04%.
The 21 ports under PMO review include the southern ports of Abadan, Imam Khomeini, Bushehr, Khorramshahr, Genaveh, Bandar Lengeh, Chavibdeh, Arvandkenar, Charak and Dayyer off the Persian Gulf.
Shahid Rajaee, Shahid Bahonar, Qeshm and Tiab are at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, Jask and Chabahar border the Oman Sea coastline, while the northern ports of Fereydounkenar, Noshahr, Astara, Amirabad and Anzali are located along the Caspian Sea.
More than 139.65 million tons of goods were loaded and unloaded via the ports in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20) to register a rise of 0.17% compared to the year before.
Non-oil goods accounted for more than 95.48 million tons of the total throughput, showing a 0.08% year-on-year growth. The remaining 44.16 million tons included oil products, indicating a 0.7% increase YOY.
Almost 69.65 million tons of goods were exported from the ports under review and more than 31.15 million tons were imported, showing a 10.28% and 13.92% growth respectively compared to the same period of last year.
A total of 17.9 million tons were loaded and unloaded in Hormozgan Province’s Shahid Rajaee Port, registering a 28.6% fall compared to the similar period of last year.
This made Shahid Rajaee the busiest port in the four-month period. Non-oil goods accounted for around 11.35 million tons and oil products more than 9 million tons of the total, showing a 32.17% decline and a 7.79% 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 trade is conducted via Shahid Rajaee that also accounts for over 85% of all container traffic.
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.
Other Major Ports
Imam Khomeini Port in Khuzestan Province was the second busiest port that handled more than 12.19 million tons of commodities, registering a 20.15% decline YOY.
Non-oil goods accounted for 8.9 million tons and oil products for close to 3.29 million tons of the total throughput at Imam Khomeini Port, registering an 11.12% and 37.35% fall, respectively.
The port is the main hub of essential goods imports. Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of change in income levels.
According to Adel Deris, director general of Khuzestan Province’s Ports and Maritime Organization, 25.09 million tons of essential goods worth $15.5 billion were imported in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20) to register a 20.77% and 17.13% increase in volume and value, respectively, compared with the year before
Imam Khomeini Port, Deris told IRNA, has 40 wharfs and 140 kilometers of railroads within its premises.
Last year (March 2019-20), 3 million tons of goods moved from this port via 53,000 wagons. Close to 90% of Iran's demand for livestock feed raw material and 79% of grains are imported from this port.
The third busiest port was Qeshm Port, also in the south. A total of 1.62 tons of goods were loaded and unloaded, indicating a 37.01% decline compared to the similar period of last year.
Non-oil goods accounted for more than 1.58 million tons and oil products 39,330 tons of the total throughput in Qeshm Port, down 37.25% and 25.56%, respectively, YOY.
Data showed 1.25 million passengers used the aforementioned ports, marking a whopping 81.9% plunge compared to last year’s similar period.
Qeshm is the largest island in Iran. It is located a few kilometers off the southern coast of Persian Gulf, opposite the port cities of Bandar Abbas and Bandar Khamir.
The island is home to a 300-square-kilometre free zone and stretches over 135 km. It has a strategic location off the Strait of Hormuz, as it is situated 60 km from the Omani port of Khasab and about 180 km from the UAE’s Port Rashid.