Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) says cargo handling capacity at ports south and north of the country rose by nearly 40% in seven years to reach a total of 250 million metric tons in the year to late March.
PMO figures covered in a Sunday report by the official IRNA news agency showed that Iran’s ports capacity would reach 280 million tons per year with the completion of a handful projects this year.
The report said total port handling capacity in Iran was around 180 million tons in the summer of 2013 when the current administrative government took office for a first four-year term.
It said container capacity at ports, which is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), will have doubled by mid-summer this year compared to eight years ago to reach a total of 8.5 million TEU.
It said passenger handling at ports will have reached a target of 25 million people per year this year, up from 14 million in August 2013.
The expansion of capacity in Iranian ports comes despite massive restrictions facing the country in the past three years because of US sanctions.
Shipping and trade involving Iranian ports and maritime entities have frequently been targeted by the sanctions as Washington has sought to choke off the country’s export revenues and make it harder for the government to access supplies of basic goods.
While introducing projects to renovate and modernize trade gateways on the Persian Gulf, Iran has invested heavily in its Chabahar port on the Sea of Oman and in the Caspian Sea ports to further boost trade with allies and partners.
The country aims to reach a target of 500 million metric tons in cargo handling capacity at its ports within the next five years.