Iran’s customs office (IRICA) says cargo transit through the country’s territory had been stable year on year in late March despite restrictions imposed at borders to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said on Monday that the volume of cargoes that passed through the Iranian territory in the calendar year to March 20 had reached a total of 7.000532 million metric tons, down only 67 tons or 0.89% against the previous year.
Latifi said the customs facilities at Shahid Rajaee port, Iran’s largest container port on the Persian Gulf, had processed a bulk of the transit cargoes last year with over 3.3 million tons of shipments registered at the facility for passing through Iran to other countries.
The Bazargan border crossing, located on the northwestern frontier with Turkey, came second at 0.7 million tons, followed by Bashmaq crossing at the border with the Iraqi Kurdistan at 0.68 million tons, he said.
The official said transit through the Iranian territory could have witnessed a major increase last calendar year if it was not for restrictions imposed at borders because of the pandemic.
Iran ordered months of closures at its borders beginning March 2020 when the government imposed a lockdown across the country to curb one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the Middle East region.
Located on a key geographic crossroad, Iran seeks to increase its share of revenues levied on cargoes passing between Asia and Europe through its territory.
The volume of cargo transit through Iran had reached 12 million tons in 2013, a six-fold increase compared to early 1990s.
Latifi said a target has been set to increase cargo transit through Iran to 50 million tons per year. However, he said sanctions imposed by the US in recent years have hampered government efforts to expand transit infrastructure across the country.