Iran is aiming to triple container port capacity to 14m teu (equivalent of 14 million 20′ containers) by the end of the decade following the easing of trade sanctions more than a year ago.
Bandar Abbas can currently handle 3m teu, which represents about 84% or Iran’s container traffic, with ambitions to grow to 9.8m teu annualy by 2020, according to government data.
With a population of 80m and GDP growth projected to hover around 4% to 2020, the lifting of sanctions early last year presents a real opportunity for trade, especially in the container business. Isolated for decades on political grounds, the country now has a high demand for consumer goods including electronics, designer clothes and bags, and automobiles.
“Bandar Abbas, with increasing volumes and capacity, will attract more direct lines”, said Drewry’s maritime research analyst Shailesh Garg.
The Bandar Abbas container capacity increase would not only support imports of consumer goods for the domestic market but also act as a transit point, he said, adding that exports would focus on fruit and agricultural products, which require refrigerated containers or reefers.
Following the lifting of sanctions, country aims to become a gateway to Middle East and Central Asia.