Irans geostrategic location and its role as trade hub in addition to its oil and gas recourses makes Iran to be among top 15 active transportation system around the world. From north through Caspian Sea Iran has access to Central Asia, Caucasus and Russia and from south through Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman it has access to international waters. Irans unique access to landlocked countries and its unique location makes it an idea transit hub in terms of cost and time efficiency. Persian Gulf which is the Energy Bottleneck of the world and main source of transmission of oil and gas from the Middle East adds to Irans logistic importance.
According to Tehran Chamber of Commerce reports, last year Iran had a total export of 13,060,558 Tons of goods and 5,772,933 tons of goods was imported to Iran which gives Irans transport service a total volume of 18,833,491 tons of goods. In Iran 59% of the transportation is done through Road ways, 37% by Sea Freight, 1% by railways and 1% through air navigation.
Main Transit ways in Iran are:
- North- South corridor which connects Bandar Abbas too Amir-Abad port and Anzali port.
- East- West Corridor (Sarakhs- Bazargan- Jolfa)
- Imam Khomeini port to Iraq
- East-Side Corridor
- Sarakhs port- Syria Corridor
- Indian subcontinent to Mediterranean Sea and Europe
Corridors have great role in decreasing costs and time in order to transfer goods, North-South Corridor (NOSTRAC) and East- West Corridor are Irans most important international corridors. Among these two corridors, NOSTRAC corridor contains Railways, Road ways and sea freight. This corridor passes over from India, Russia and central Asia. Statistics exhibits that each 15 tons transfer from this corridor decrease 2500 $ cost of transportation and comparing to Suez Channel time of transfer will be reduced up to 40% and costs of transportation system decline around 30%.
More than 90% of transportation is done by sea freight. In 2011, 9.173 million tons and in 2012, 9563 million tons and in 2013, 9.932 million tons have been transferred by sea freight around the world. Iran, having 3000 km coastline and 16 ports, has its special place in world. Ranking these ports by size of their area and Terminal Handling Charges are: Imam Khomeini port, Shahid Rajaie port, Boushehr, Noshahr, Amir Abad, Khorram-shahr, Bahonar, Abadan, Asalouyeh, Chabahar, Anzali port, Khark, Lengeh, Neka, Gaz. Some of these ports are free zone and are highlighted in the below map:
Demand for vessel production around the world is 45 million CGT (Compensate Gross Tonnage) per year and in year 2013, 20 million CGT has been ordered. South Korea has produced 35% of the total world supply with China and Japan each providing 34% and 13% respectively. In Iran there are 40 active factory for vessel production and maintenance of ships (which is less than 0.3 percentage of vessel making market share). Irans supply is about 125.000 CGT. After lifting sanctions trading with Europe will be increase and as previously most of trading transportation has done by sea freight, it would not be a surprise if Irans port could operate again with full capacity.
Most of goods transported by sea freight in Iran are crude oil and oil and gas products. Iran has 60 vessel of VLCC and a capacity to transfer more than 100 million tons of crude oil. Iran by having more than 150 ocean crossing vessels and more than 2500 vessels and 16 ports has a great capacity for 186 million tons for THC (Terminal Handling Charges) and transferring 14 million passenger.
Iran has 101 airports, from which, 13 of them are international. Imam Khomeini airport has potential to transfer 6 million passengers per year and there is plan to expand this capacity to 50 million passengers. Iran-Shahr transit hub have been established in Imam Khomeini International Airport in order to import and export trading goods which was about 98.22 million tons.
Optimizing distance and costs for transferring merchandise make transporting by road ways a good option. Irans location facilitates road transit from Europe to Asia. Iran could be the road way hub of transit. Transit of goods from Turkey to Iran through a network of highways is one of the main transit corridors of Iran with more than 5000 trucks transferring goods per a year.
Iran by 1.648.195 km2 area has 1/27 area of Asia and 1/90 of whole lands in the world. In 2008, Iran had 8,442 km of rail road and ranked 24 in the world. In 2014 the countrys rank improved to 20 with 12,998 km was of rail roads.
Main rail roads in Iran are:
- Primary Rail Roads: 7,066 km
- Industrial and Trading Rail Roads: 2,097 km
- Electrical Rail Roads (Jolfa- Tabriz) : 148 km
- Double Rails: 1,082 km
According to UIC (International Union of Railways), Iran has 3 companies for railways: Rail Pardaz Group, Niroo Rail Transportation Co. and Islamic Republic of Iran Railways. Value of main railways is approximately 8.4 billion dollars and more than 70% locomotives are owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Railways which are evaluated about 1 billion dollars. Irans rank in railways to passenger ratio is 55, index of distance of railways toward population is 52 and ratio of railways distance in area of country is 55. In year 1393 goods which were transferred by railways was about 35 million tons and most of them were minerals, steel and cement, petrochemical and oil.
Iran by having 16 commercial ports and also strategic location, has a great potential to be a hub of transportation. Iran boundaries which expands from Caspian Sea in the north to Persian Gulf and Oman Sea in the south is an important transferring hub in The Middle East. Irans airlines and airports have huge capacity in order to transfer goods through international ways. Costs and time for transferring through Roads compare to other transferring alternatives are higher. The main reasons for having a higher cost are roads accidents and long distances. Rail roads in Iran has a lower costs than road ways, and by developing more rail roads, Iran could transfer more goods. All in all, by investing in transportation industry in Iran, Transferring system of Iran could be a hub around the world.