Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 27 / Trend, A.Yusifzade /
Over 6.47 million tons of cargo had been handled at the Iranian Anzali port from March 21, 2010 till present, showing a 4.3 percent increase over the same period of last year, IRNA reported quoting Gilan Ports and Maritime Organization Director General Farhad Montaser Kouhsari as saying.
The number of ships entered in the Anzali port increased by 9.2 percent to 1,946 in this period, Kouhsari said.
Earlier, the head of Iran's Gilan province Ruhulla Gahramani Chabuk told Trend that Iran's largest northern port on the Caspian currently has a transshipment capacity of 7 million tons, but the government has prepared a project for its further development.
"I hope that over the next two years, the transshipment capacity of the port will increase to 11 million tons. Currently a railway is being constructed in the port as a supporting infrastructure. It will be commissioned in 2012. With the realization of the railroad construction, the Anzali Port will become the most developed sea port in Iran, connecting it with Central Asia and Russia," said Gahramani Chabuk.
He said the construction of a new private port near the Iranian town of Astara has also started. This port will also carry out the transshipment of dry cargo, oil and oil products. The construction of the railway also started here in order to develop this port.
Iran also continues to build a Caspian Port on the Caspian Sea to the east of Anzali Port, he said.
According to Gahramani Chabuk, one of the key issues of cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan, and Iran and Russia, is the opening of maritime passenger routes between Anzali and Baku, and Anzali and Astrakhan. Discussion of these projects is ongoing between all parties.
Opening the passenger route between the three countries would greatly contribute to the development of tourism. Work is currently being conducted in this regard, and this route will soon be opened, said Gahramani Chabuk.
The annual capacity of Iranian ports will increase to 200 million tons by the end of the Fifth Development Plan (2010-2015).
Announcing the above, the managing director of Iran's Port and Maritime Organization Seyyed Ataollah Sadr said that the current capacity of the country's ports is about 150 million tons per year, IRIB reported.
More than 40 multipurpose small ports have been established in the southern parts of the country since last year, some 300 small ports will be launched in the future.
According to the report, some 91 million tons of non-oil commodities were loaded and unloaded in the first eight months of the current Iranian year (started March 21) showing a 15-percent growth against last year.
During the past year, more than 440 million containers have been shipped worldwide, of which Iran's share was just 0.5 percent, said the official adding that given the potentials and infrastructures it should increase to at least 1 percent.
Gilan Province lies along the Caspian Sea, bordering province of Mazandaran in the west, the province of Ardabil in the east, the provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin in the north. Rasht is the central city of Gilan and Bandar-e Anzali is its major harbor port.