Brief overview of some Caspian ports freight turnover

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    Trend:Ports of the Caspian basin have good prospects to increase their turnover in a short time.

    Commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway that took place in October makes way for the Chinese and Central Asian goods to be delivered across the Caspian Sea to Europe.

    The North-South project – another transport route from India through Iran to Russia and North East Europe – can also contribute. In March of 2018 at the forthcoming summit in Kazakhstan it is expected to sign the final agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. All these factors will help intensify the trade between the coastal states.

    In the meantime, within the first six months of the current year most of the Caspian ports showed decrease in their total freight turnover.

    Iran’s major ports

    Port Amirabad: total turnover in January-June 2017 accounted for 1.24 million tons (40,000 tons more as compared to 1H2016), from which 24,000 tons fell on oil and oil products, whereas 1.216 million tons accounted for non-oil products, according to Iran’s Port and Maritime Organization.

    Last Iranian fiscal year (March 2016-March 2017) total turnover of the port accounted for nearly 2.22 million tons.

    Port Anzali: total turnover for the six months of 2017 amounted to 1.1 million tons (377,000 tons less than in 1H2016), from which 62,000 tons fell on oil and oil products, whereas about 1.04 million tons t0 non-oil products.

    Last Iranian fiscal year the port’s total turnover made more than 2.86 million tons.

    Port Noshahr: total turnover for the six months of 2017 made 257,000 tons (184,000 tons less, compared to 1H2016), which entirely accounted for non-oil cargoes.

    Further, 688,386 tons of cargo was transshipped by the port within last year.

    Non-oil products accounted for staple food, metals, minerals, construction materials, and textile products.

    Russia’s ports

    In the Russian seaports of the Caspian basin 1.7 million tons of cargo was handled during the first half of the current year. Freight turnover of non-oil goods made 1.2 million tons while oil/oil products accounted for 0.5 million tons.

    The volume of transshipment in port of Makhachkala reached 0.5 million tons (64,5% decrease compared to 1H2016), in port of Astrakhan 1.0 million tons (decrease of 10,5%), and in port of Olya – 85,500 tons (decrease of 4,7%).

    According to statistics from the Association of sea trade ports of Russia, since the beginning of the current year the cargo turnover in the Caspian basin amounted to 1220 TEU.

    In 2016 total turnover in the Russian Caspian ports made 6.1 million tons, including 3.3 million for port Makhachkala, 2.6 million for port Astrakhan and 0.2 million for port Olya.

    Grain, ferrous metals, timber, non-bulk commodities constitute the basis of non-oil cargoes loaded in the Russian ports.

    Port of Baku (Azerbaijan)

    The freight turnover at Baku port in the first half of 2017 made 1.9 million tons (growth by 43,5% comparing to 1H2016) excluding oil and oil products. Some 89% of all cargo transportation fell on transit goods.

    During the reporting period, the highest growth was observed in transshipment of large-sized vehicles (TIR), including trailers, and other vehicles.

    In January-June 2017 transportation of TIR vehicles on the Baku-Turkmenbashi-Baku route totaled 10,154 units, and in direction of Baku-Aktau-Baku it amounted to 6,050 units.

    In the first half of 2017, the port’s main cargo terminal handled 290,000 tons of cargo, most of which accounted for transit TEU containers.

    Within the period, the port’s ferry terminal processed 21,775 wagons, including 10,041 on the Baku-Turkmenbashi-Baku route, 5,773 on the Baku-Aktau-Baku route and 5,961 in direction of Baku-Kuryk-Baku.

    Passenger transportation through the port for both directions (Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) totaled 14,478 people.

    4.5 million ton of cargo was transshipped by the port of Baku in 2016.

    Regretfully, lack of official data from disclosed sources for ports of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan makes it hard to highlight their activities.

    The chart below gives a relative account (insight) of activities in the main Caspian ports:

    Share of vessels by type, arrival and departure within 30 days (%)

    Source: Marine Traffic

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