Iran has signed an agreement with Swiss and Dutch companies to design, develop and construct its first freight logistics center at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).
IKIA signed the agreement with Swiss-based ADI Consulting GmbH and the Netherlands Airport Consultant Company (NACO) in Tehran on Saturday, vice president for investment and economic affairs of the airport Hossein Tajik said.
“Logistics development actually means the country's development and is an essential element for this purpose,” he said.
Tajik touched on the significance of logistics, saying transporting 100,000 tonnes of cargo at the airport would create added value equal to that generated from about a million passengers for the country.
“On the other hand, we are in an area that has a market value of about 400 million people around the country,” he said, adding Iran has failed to make use of this advantage both due to internal and external factors.
Jean Godart of ADI Consulting said the project is focused on logistics which is “a way to success”, saying it could mark a big step for Iran.
ADI Consulting GmbH was established in Switzerland in 1999 to manage cargo capacity in the airfreight sector. Since then, the company has expanded into other logistics areas such as consulting in logistics business building, infrastructure development and management.
The deal came after officials said earlier this month that Iran had canceled a preliminary agreement with the French industrial group Bouygues to expand IKIA.
The company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January 2016 to build and operate a terminal at IKIA to handle 20 million passengers a year.
Managing Director of IKIA Airport City Company Mahmoud Navidi said Bouygues had failed to fulfill its commitments under the agreement.
IKIA, about 40 kilometers southwest of the Iranian capital, currently handles 6 million air travelers.
After the cancellation of Bouygues' agreement, Iran put out calls for investment in the terminal which received a warm welcome from Iranian and foreign companies.
"Currently, 50 domestic and foreign companies have announced readiness to invest in the Iranshahr terminal in the form of BLT (build, lease and transfer)," Navidi said.
The idea to build IKIA was conceived before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with original designs prepared by a US consortium in order to make it a regional air travel hub but the airport was inaugurated only in May 2004.
In December 2015, Iran awarded the development of a town in the vicinity of IKIA to NACO which undertook to provide consulting services for the development of Phase 1 of IKIA Airport Town for a period of five years.
France’s AccorHotels opened Novotel and Ibis near IKIA in September 2016 with the participation of business leaders and representatives of 150 aviation companies such as Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer.
French-based Airbus also struck a $19 billion sale deal last year to give 100 commercial aircraft to Iran. The multinational European company has already delivered three planes.