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EghtesadOnline: The volume of rail and road transit through Iran is on the rise.

More than 6.7 million tons of foreign goods were transported through Iran by road during the current fiscal year’s first nine months (March 21-Dec. 21, 2021), registering an 111% rise compared with the similar period of last year, according to the director general of Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization’s Transit and International Transportation Department.

Mohammad Javad Hedayati added that the number of trucks carrying transit goods during the period saw a 116% year-on-year rise.

“Our estimates are that 8.5-9 million tons of goods will be transited via Iranian roads by the end of the current Iranian year [March 20, 2022],” the official was quoted as saying by the news portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

The volume of road transit peaked in the fiscal 2013-14 with more than 12 million tons.  

“The rise in transit came despite the fact that two of our main transport corridors were closed. One was the road corridor through which consignments were transited from Turkey to Turkmenistan. These were goods transported from Europe to their destinations in the member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and vice versa. Every year, more than 35,000 foreign trucks travelled on this route. Yet, after the outbreak of Covid-19, Turkmenistan closed its borders with us and we lost access to this corridor,” he said.

Hedayati noted that transport to Afghanistan also halted after the power transition in the neighboring country.

“After the Taliban took over and restrictions were imposed on Afghanistan’s banking operations, some countries became more cautious in trading with Afghan businesses and merchants. This also affected the volume of transit through our country,” he added.

However, Hedayati had earlier announced that transit via Iranian border crossings and the country’s foreign truck commutes have increased to the levels recorded before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the latest report of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, a total of 1.39 million tons of freight were transited via Iran’s rail network during March 21-Dec. 21, 2021, to register a 202% rise year-on-year.

The volume is in fact a 10-year record, the ministry’s news portal reported, adding that the closest volume to this year’s was registered in the fiscal 2017-18 with 1.2 million tons.

Over Q1-3 of the current fiscal year, a total of 955 locomotives and 27,602 freight wagons were used in the country, indicating a 0.1% and 2% increase respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year, the report added.

Iran earns $200 from each ton of transit goods, according to the former secretary of the High Council of Free Trade and Special Economic Zones.

“Every year, more than 1 billion tons of commodities are transited through the Suez Canal. By attracting 5% of this volume to transit through our borders, the revenues can become considerable,” Hamidreza Momeni was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency recently.

“After the coronavirus spread across the region, our surrounding countries closed their borders to Iranian transit trucks. Later, regulations were loosened, but commutes were still restricted, which resulted in a drastic fall in the country’s transit activities,” he added.

At present, truck commutes from Iran’s 24 border crossings are back to the pre-Covid days. 

A total of 7.53 million tons of commodities were transited through Iran during the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), showing a 0.89% decline compared with the year before, according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.

Iran’s top 10 busiest transit borders were Shahid Rajaee Special Economic Zone in the southern Hormozgan Province with more than 3,3 million tons, Bazargan in West Azarbaijan Province with 703,000 tons, Bashmaq in Kurdestan Province with 687,000 tons, Sarakhs in Khorasan Razavi Province with 457,000 tons, Imam Khomeini Port checkpoint in Khuzestan Province with 447,000 tons, Bileh Savar in Ardabil Province with 337,000 tons, Jolfa in East Azarbaijan Province 312,000 tons, Razi in East Azarbaijan Province with 188,000 tons, Astara in Gilan Province with 156,000 tons and Bandar Lengeh in Hormozgan province with 139,000 tons.

These 10 border crossings accounted for 89% of Iran’s total transit during the period under review.

With 12 wharfs, Shahid Rajaee is Iran’s biggest container port, accounting for 90% of the country’s total container throughput.

About half of Iran’s commercial trading is carried out at Shahid Rajaee, which is located 23 kilometers west of the port city of Bandar Abbas, the capital of Hormozgan Province.


Rail Road Transit