Iran’s Government Trading Company (GTC) says the country imported over four million metric tons of basic goods in the 10 months to late January despite pandemic-related restrictions imposed at borders and difficulties facing the country in settling trade payments.
Amir Talebi, a deputy head of the GTC, said on Thursday that a total of 194 ships carrying basic goods, including foods, staples, medicine and animal feed, had docked at Iranian ports in the first 10 months of the calendar year ending January 19.
Iran’s Port of Emam Khomeini, the country’s largest grain ship port on the Persian Gulf’s westernmost coast, was responsible for 45 percent of all basic goods consignments, said Talebi, adding that Bandar Abbas, the largest container port on the southern coast, took delivery of 31 percent of the cargoes.
Port operations boomed at Chabahar, Iran’s sole ocean port on the Sea of Oman, where some 17 percent of all basic goods cargoes were handled, according to the GTC.
Iran has been encouraging more activity at Chabahar, where it is implementing large-scale development plans to turn the gateway into a major trade hub in the region.
Government authorities believe basic goods consignments destined for major urban regions in east and northeast Iran can be processed through Chabahar where the infrastructure is being developed for loading and unloading of large container ships.
Ports along the Caspian Sea in north of Iran handled only seven percent of all basic goods cargoes, said Talebi, as he estimated that annual basic goods imports would reach 4.4 million tons with consignments of seed oils planned to dock at ports until the end of the current calendar year in late March.
The Iranian government has announced on several occasions that it has earmarked billions of dollars in funds to ensure a smooth flow of basic goods into the country to prevent any shortages at a time of increased US pressure and reduced economic activity because of the coronavirus pandemic.