EghtesadOnline: Imports of essential goods are underway at the southern Imam Khomeini Port.
The Government Trading Corporation of Iran’s news portal reported on August 10 that more than 850,000 tons of essential goods were imported via this port located in the southern Khuzestan Province over the past 100 days.
“The imported essential goods mainly included wheat, sugar, unprocessed vegetable oil and rice,” GTC official Omid Jahan-Nejadian was quoted as saying by the corporation’s news portal.
Imam Khomeini Port is the hub of essential goods import.
Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.
A total of 10.83 million tons of goods were loaded and unloaded in the southern Khuzestan Province’s Imam Khomeini Port during the first three months of the current Iranian year (March 21-June 21), showing a 15% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
“Non-oil goods accounted for 6.69 million tons of the total sum and the remaining 4.14 million tons were oil products,” Director General of Khuzestan Ports and Maritime Organization Adel Deris was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official noted that transit through this southern port stood at around 119,000 tons in Q1, registering a year-on-year increase of 46%.
Imam Khomeini port, Deris told IRNA, boasts 40 wharfs, 140 kilometers of railroads within its premises and the latest loading and unloading facilities.
Close to 90% of Iran’s demand for livestock feed raw material as well as 80% of grains are imported through this southern port.
In the fiscal 2019-20, the port handled nearly 15.7 million tons of essential goods.
The strategic port saw the inauguration and sod-turning ceremonies for 18 investment and development projects worth 15.79 trillion rials (about $60 million) late 2020.
The event was attended by CEO of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran Mohammad Rastad, Fars News Agency reported.
Among the most important inaugurated projects were four multipurpose warehouses, oil product reservoirs and a mechanized grain terminal.
Also, two projects for the construction of edible oil refineries were started on the same day.
Other projects included the overhaul of some of the wharfs and railroads inside Imam Khomeini Port premises, dredging operations, fixing breakwaters and providing proper lighting for the port’s launchers.
The total volume of freight loading and unloading in Iranian ports hit 44.9 million tons in Q1, indicating a 7% rise compared with the similar period of last year, according to the deputy head of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Farhad Montasar Kouhsari.
“This growth has come about under severe economic sanctions as well as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions imposed on trade and marine transport,” the official was quoted as saying by ILNA.
Oil throughput, the official added, stood at 21 million tons, showing a YOY increase of 17%.
“Container throughput saw a meager 1% rise to 536 TEUs in Q1 against 534,000 TEUs in last year’s corresponding period.”
CBI: $15b Supplied for Essential Imports in 4 Months
The Central Bank of Iran provided $15 billion for the import of essential goods in the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22), 27% more than the corresponding period of last year.
The provision of subsidized foreign currency at the rate of 42,000 rials per US dollar increased by 70% to reach $4.6 billion during the same period, the central bank reported on its website.
The latest statistics by CBI show it has supplied $1,546 million for the import of corn, barley and wheat; $1,124 million for oilseeds and raw oil; $1,171 million for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and $348 million for soymeal. A total of $10.4 billion have been provided for importing other commodities, indicating a 15% growth year-on-year. For example, $3,564 million have been provided for importing machinery during the period.
According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran imported 9.4 million tons of essential goods from March 21 to July 22, of which 8.4 million tons were six government subsidized items.
“Over 4.6 million tons of essential goods are at the ports of entry, 400,000 tons of which are being unloaded and more than 1 million tons are on vessels waiting to be unloaded. The strategic reserves of essential goods stand at 15.5 million tons,” the IRICA chief was quoted as saying.
Cellphones, feed corn, sunflower oil, barley, soymeal, wheat, soybeans, sugar and rice were major imports during the period.
Noting that customs clearance procedures have been accelerated significantly by IRICA following directives approved about the gradual and credit clearance of essential goods, the official said, “The daily discharge of 47,000 tons of goods from Imam Khomeini Port in the first quarter increased to 62,000 tons in the fourth month of the year (ending July 22), indicating a 32% rise.”
Fiscal 2020-21 in Review
A total of 23 million tons of essential goods worth $12 billion were imported into Iran during the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“The lion’s share of this sum amounting to 13.44 million tons worth $3.74 billion pertained to livestock and poultry feed. This volume accounted for 58% and 31% of the weight and value of last year’s total essential goods imports respectively,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that corn stood at 9.78 million tons worth $2.5 billion, soymeal for 1.82 million tons worth $793.94 million and barley for 1.83 million tons worth $457.32 million.
“Some 2.34 million tons of oilseeds worth $1.25 billion, in addition to 1.14 million tons of refined edible, semi-solid, liquid and unprocessed oils worth $1.06 billion, were imported during the period under review,” he added.
The imports also included 14,798 tons of human medicine as well as medical equipment worth $1.64 billion and a total of 451,000 tons of livestock and poultry medicines worth $64.16 million.
“Our food imports also included 936,809 tons of rice worth $868.53 million, 3.02 million tons of wheat worth nearly $841.23 million, 1.01 million tons of unrefined sugar worth $370.66 million, 64,822 tons of dried tea leaves worth $329.12 million, 175,260 tons of different kinds of pulses worth $144.04 million, 30,487 tons of frozen or cold heavy livestock meat worth $133.27 million, 9,801 tons of butter worth $51.46 million and 4,422 tons of warm light livestock meat worth $29.17 million,” Latifi said.
Imports of essential goods for industrial purposes and production mainly consisted of 51,415 tons of industrial machinery worth $510.8 million, 207,583 tons of different types of paper worth $190.1 million, 231,064 tons of paper pulp worth $181.06 million, 252,204 tons of fertilizers worth $153.08 million, 9,074 tons of pesticides and insecticides worth $86.27 million and 6,019 seeds of different kinds of plants worth $83.63 million.
The IRICA spokesman concluded that 76,716 tons of heavy vehicle tires worth $282.84 million were imported over the period under review.
According to the IRICA chief, Iran imported 3.5 million tons of essential goods worth $9.7 billion from China, 5 million tons worth $9.6 billion from the UAE, $4.3 billion worth of goods from Turkey, 2.2 million tons worth $2.1 billion from India and 1.2 million tons worth $1.8 billion from Germany in the year to March 20.
According to Mojgan Khanlou, a senior official with the Plan and Budget Organization of Iran, the government is allowed to gradually discontinue the allocation of subsidized forex to import essential goods during the first half of the fiscal 2021-22.
“Prices will increase to some extent and demand will decline and a relative recession will come eventually,” Kaveh Zargaran, the chairman of the commission and secretary of the Federation of Iranian Food Associations has been quoted as saying.
“Up to 2.8 million tons of essential goods, including rice, vegetable oils and unprocessed sugar, purchased in the last Iranian year (March 2020-201) will be imported during the first five months of the current Iranian year [March 21-Aug. 22],” Amir Talebi, a senior official with the Government Trading Corporation of Iran, has said.