A senior Iranian maritime official says a plan to privatize small ports north and south of the country would be implemented in the upcoming months as the government seeks to spur more shipping activity to offset the impacts of the American sanctions on trade.
According to Press TV, Mohammad Ali Hassanzadeh, a Deputy Director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran (PMOI), said on Sunday that transfer of ownership of small ports would begin once a current study phase to evaluate economic and infrastructure capacities of the ports is concluded.
“We have 48 small ports in Iran and handing them over to the private sector would begin in two months-time,” said Hassanzadeh, adding that most of the ports that are planned for privatization are located south of Iran on the Persian Gulf and on the Sea of Oman.
The PMOI is preparing tenders for the sale of the small ports to the private owners, said a report by the ILNA, adding that potential winners of the bids should prove they have the sufficient economic and financial capacity to start operations at the ports.
According to the report, the PMOI defines small ports as those capable of accommodating ships carrying 500 to 1,000 tons of cargo and equipped with structures like breakwater, warehouses and offices to host administrative officials.
According to a government report in 2015, small ports had been involved in 7.5 percent of volume and over nine percent of the value of Iran’s total yearly trade.
The privatization of the ports come amid government efforts to activate more trade channels across the country as it seeks to minimize dependence on crude exports amid American sanctions that have affected exports.