EghtesadOnline: The capacity of Iran’s passenger shipping is 24.8 million per year, says Mohammad Rastad, the managing director of Ports and Maritime Organization, adding that the figure will rise to 25 million by March 20.
Fifty-seven passenger vessels featuring 7,500 seats are currently operating at Iranian ports, mostly en route from Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan to Qeshm Island in southern Iran. There are also 12,000 registered ferries, of which 500 are at the disposal of marine entities. In addition, over 50 landing craft with the capacity to transport 2,500 vehicles and 8,000 passengers are sailing between the mainland and Qeshm Island as well as other destinations like Kish Island. Limited passenger ship services are also available between Bandar Genaveh in Bushehr and Khark Island,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Noting that 75 wharfs and maritime tourism equipment with an investment of 700 billion rials ($2.7 million) from the internal resources of the PMO have come on stream in the northern and southern coastal strips, the official said, “The country’s first and best tourist port is under construction in Chamkhaleh in the northern province of Gilan. Thus far, 1,200 billion rials [$4.6 million] have been invested in this project. The development of this tourist port has made 50% progress and it will be inaugurated by March 2022.”
A memorandum of understanding with the aim of improving maritime tourism was signed between Rastad and Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Ali Asghar Mounesan on Sunday.
As unilateral US sanctions against Iran snapped back during the previous US administration, pressuring the country's limited foreign currency reserves, the Islamic Republic has been increasingly paying attention to marine travel as a major way of boosting its underdeveloped tourism sector.
Iran has had several plans in the works in recent years to develop sea routes, some of which date back to a decade ago, but many of them were left dormant in the face of challenges, including but not limited to weak infrastructures that could not support envisioned developments.
But as prospects of returning US sanctions got more serious, officials have ramped up efforts and heralded tangible results. They have managed to establish or reactivate a number of sea travel routes.
Iran has mostly capitalized on vast potentials offered by its southern ports, which grant access to the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Plans are also underway in the northern parts of the country.