EghtesadOnline: A total of 2,500 tons of commodities are exported to the neighboring Afghanistan through Dogharoun crossing in Khorasan Razavi Province’s border city of Taybad on a daily basis, according to the manager of this eastern checkpoint.
“The main exported goods include cement, rebars, fuel and liquefied gas that are shipped to Afghanistan by 100 trucks every day,” manager of Dogharoun Border Terminal, Karim Navaei-Nezami, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that an average of 2,000 tons of products are transited to this eastern neighbor daily with around 80 trucks.
“These transited goods mainly include auto parts, vegetable oils and textiles and cross into Dogharoun mainly through Hormozgan’s Shahid Rajaee Port and West Azarbaijan Province’s Bazargan border crossing,” he said.
According to the official, Dogharoun is currently Iran's fifth busiest border crossing when it comes to exports via road.
Since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 20, he added, the number of trucks crossing Dogharoun have increased by 50% compared with the similar period of last year.
Earlier this month, the local official said around 1,200 trucks carrying Iranian goods to Afghanistan as well as transit goods were held up in Dogharoun.
“The heavy traffic behind the border is due to the fact that Turkmenistan is refusing to open up its common border crossings with Iran after closing them down due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and other eastern checkpoints such as Milak in Sistan-Baluchestan Province and Mahiroud in South Khorasan Province. These have redirected traffic toward Dogharoun,” Navaei-Nezami said.
“What complicates the situation further is that there are not enough facilities on the Afghan side of the border to expedite the passage of these trucks into the neighboring country,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA on Tuesday.
He added that officials from both sides have agreed to increase working hours from 7:15 a.m.-5 p.m. to 7 a.m.-7 p.m. to help solve the problem.
Besides Dogharoun, Iran has two other border crossing into Afghanistan, namely Milak in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province (which is the main trade corridor between the two countries) and Mahiroud in South Khorasan province
Latest data released by the Iranian customs administration show 2.6 million tons worth $871 million were exported from Iran to Afghanistan during the first five months of the current fiscal year (July 22-Aug. 21), accounting for 8% of Iran's total exports to the neighboring country during the period.
Hossein Salimi, the chairman of Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, says the coronavirus crisis is expected to reduce Iran’s exports to Afghanistan to $2.9 billion in the current fiscal year (March 2020-21) compared with $3.2 billion in previous years.
Noting that Afghanistan meets 40% of its imports, including construction materials, food and fuel, from Iran, Salimi said, “We intend to improve commercial exchanges with Afghans by making investments in their mining sector. Such investments will increase Afghanistan’s revenues and improve their buying power. Iranians’ financing of two projects, including a carbonated soft drink plant, has already begun.”
Zamzam Group, an Iranian producer of soft drinks, has launched a production line in Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city, Mazar-i-Sharif.
The factory has come online as of July 5, the company’s public relations office reported.
Based on a contract signed by Afghanistan’s Sadat Cola Company and Peyman Sazeh Paydar Company, the two entities will cooperate in producing Zamzam soft drinks in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) packages.
Zamzam Group is Iran’s oldest soft drink producer launched in 1955.
Manufacturers of carbonated soft drinks in Iran have witnessed a 30-40% fall in production in the current fiscal year (started March 20) over the shutdown of restaurants, ceremony halls, fast foods, etc. and the cancellation of reception ceremonies in the wake of the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
According to Secretary of Iran’s Carbonated Soft Drinks Association Mehdi Sayyadian, producers are facing uncertainty and instability regarding prices due to the constant rise in foreign currency rates, Fars News Agency reported.
A portion of raw materials required in the production of carbonated soft drinks is imported, he added.