PortandTerminal.com, May 13, 2019
Bandar Abbas is Iran’s main port of entry and traces its history back to over 2,500 years ago during the reign of Darius the Great. It is also where much of the action will take place if/when war breaks out between Iran and the United States. Iran’s abysmal treatment of its citizens though will always be the elephant in the room in any discussion about the country. Read more about Iran’s appalling human rights record in Part 1 of this series.
The Port of Bandar Abbas
Iran relies heavily on the Port of Bandar Abbas, its biggest and ageing port located on the Persian Gulf. The port has a capacity of 3.3 million TEU and handles 90% of the country’s container throughput. While there is an oil refinery at Bandar Abbas and a naval base too, most of the country’s vital oil exports are sent from Kharg Island, located almost 400 miles away.
Bandar Abbas’ fatal flaw is that it’s not a deep-sea port which means much of Iran’s imports need to be offloaded first in Dubai and then reloaded onto smaller vessels and shipped to Iran.
Bandar Abbas’ fatal flaw is that it’s not a deep sea port
Bandar Abbas’ small size relative to Iran’s growing trade needs as a nation of 81 million people has held back the country’s efforts to become a serious maritime trading bloc, something the country’s leadership is bitterly aware of.
For decades, Iran has wanted to get into the big leagues in global trade. Iran has a unique geographic position that should allow it to become a major trading hub for energy and cargo throughout the region.
Behind the drumbeat of headlines concerning Iran’s nuclear program, Iran and India have been building the deep-sea port of Chabahar in the southeasternmost part of the Iranian coast. Iran has aligned itself with India in Chabahar to counter Pakistan’s alignment with China in the nearby port of Gwadar.
Iran’s maritime trading future is in the deepwater port of Chabahar. The Port of Bandar Abbas is what the country relies upon until better days come.
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