Rice consignments imported from India, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, and the UAE were stuck at Iran customs for months. Since March 2020, rice shipments of 100000 tonnes cleared at Iran ports.
Rice Shipments at Iran ports
More than 114,000 tons of rice were awaiting completion of clearance procedures in the customs terminals of Chabahar, Zahedan, Shahid Rajaee and other ports. The latest figures released by the Statistical Center of Iran reveal that the country’s per capita consumption is 35 kilograms. Iran produces around 2.9 million tonnes of rice in 2019-20, marking a 45% increase as against the last year. Further, the report shows that Mazandaran (38%) and Gilan (33%) contribute the highest to the overall rice production. Iran imports over 1.4 million metric tonnes of rice annually.
Increase in Import of Essential Commodities
The DG of the Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization of Iran stated that cargo ships carrying basic commodities (sugar, rice, wheat, and corn) have docked at the Chabahar port since March 20. The arrivals during the seven weeks comprised 421,298 tons of essential commodities as against 27,500 tons of previous year. Further, he emphasized the uninterrupted supply of commodities through Chabahar port to Sistan and Balouchestan amid the adverse effects of the pandemic. Besides, the deputy director of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran highlighted the importance of the city port. He said that Iranian port equipped with strategic loading and unloading equipment that offers special discounts on port charges.
Revenue for Indian Basmati Rice Industry Weakens
Vice President and Sector Head, ICRA stated that the Iranian government’s support for imports of Indian basmati is sceptical. Imports of basmati rice fell due to the reduced availability of subsidised foreign currency to Iranian private importers. Also, depletion of reserves rupee payment mechanism over the next few months remains a significant concern for trade with Iran.
12000 Tonnes of Rice Imported via Bushehr Port
Mohammad Shakibi-Nasab, an official with the Bushehr Ports and Maritimes Organization, revealed that around 12,000 tons of rice imported into Iran via Bushehr Port from India. Also, about 45,000 tons of rice imported via the same port in the previous year. However, an exporter confirmed piling of around 5,00,000 tonnes of rice at customs terminals. This was due to complications associated with the provision of foreign currency from the export earnings of non-oil products.
Rise in Import of Essential Goods via Khomeini Port
The import of non-oil products increased by 15% in April and reached 1.79 million tons mark. Further, the country imported 1.42 million tons of essential goods to regulate the market during the holy month of Ramadan. Overall, Iran bought 25.09 million tons of essential goods worth close to USD 15.5 billion during the last fiscal year (March 2019-20).
In all, Iran’s port operations have resumed amid the pandemic.