From nuclear deal to latest sanctions: Iran's port activities

From nuclear deal to latest sanctions: Iran's port activities

Baku, Azerbaijan, November 29

By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:

In Iran, if we take trade in goods by mode of transport, we’ll see that road haulage is the dominant in intra-Iran trade and cross-country transit, while international flow of goods is mostly implemented by maritime transportation.

Iranian ports are playing the role of a kind of oxygen conduits in the sanctions environment, where most of export-import activities are carried out physically.

The US sanctions covering the activities of Iranian ports, have m ade international companies involved in loading or unloading cargo in Iran’s main ports very cautious, and in some cases even halt their services in the country.

The US Department of the Treasury clearly stated, among other things, that providing any port operator in Iran with any significant financial, material, technological, or other support could be subject for sanctions.

In this context it would be interesting to track trade activities of Iranian ports, and whether there are any signs of sanctions' impact.

Statistical data available on the Islamic Republic’s Port and Maritime Organization (PMO) official website, cover 21 Iranian ports including those on the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

In 2017 the total cargo throughput (incoming and outgoing) of the Iranian ports amounted to 153 million tons (growth of 7.9 percent as compared with the previous year). Almost 65 million tons fell on incoming goods, while 88 million tons was the share of outgoing goods.

Top five types of cargo contained oil products (47 million tons), construction and mineral goods (34.5 million tons), containerized cargo (30.4 million tons), essential goods (17.4 million tons) and metal goods (9.6 million tons).

In 2017 top three ports with the highest rates of throughput were: Shahid Rajaee (Bandar Abbas) with 86.5 million tons, Imam Khomeini with 43.7 million t and Qeshm with 7.1 million tons. The remaining 15.7 million tons fell on 18 other ports.

Containers throughput in 2017 made 3.09 million TEU (25.5 percent growth as against 2016).

Now let’s proceed to this year. During the ten months of 2018 total cargo throughput of all Iranian ports accounted for 120.7 million tons as compared with 138.6 million tons within January-October 2017 (a decrease by 13 percent).

Some 49 million tons fell on incoming goods, while 71.7 million tons was the share of outgoing goods. In ten months of the last year these volumes made accordingly 58.6 million tons and 80 million tons.

Within the reported period, top five types of cargo contained 36.5 million tons of oil products with decrease by 14.7 percent as against Jan.-Oct. 2017, 25.9 million tons of construction and mineral goods with decrease by 18.3 percent, 22 million tons of containerized cargo with decrease by 25.7 percent, 15.8 million tons of essential goods with 10.5 percent growth and 8.7 million tons of metal goods with 2.3 percent growth.

Within the ten months the same three ports - Shahid Rajaee, Imam Khomeini and Qeshm were again on leading positions in terms of cargo throughput.

Total number of loaded and unloaded containers in Jan.-Oct. amounted to 2.17 million TEU against 2.995 TEU at the same period of the last year (a decrease by 27.5 percent).

As a result of 10 months statistics, only essential goods, the bulk of which are incoming (14.8 million tons against 1 million tons of outgoing goods) showed a 10-percent increase, whereas the rest of the indicators lessened – sometimes considerably.

It is already clear that expansion and growth of port activities in Iran, which began after the signing of the nuclear deal (136 million tons in 2015, 141.8 million tons in 2016 and 153 million tons in 2017), may be replaced by a noticeable drop this year.

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