Astara Port, located in Iran's northern Gilan Province, may be inaugurated as the first private port in Iran by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20), IRNA quoted Gilan province's ports and maritime department director Farhad Montaser-Koohsari as saying.
At present, a dock with a loading and unloading capacity of 600,000 tons is ready to be commissioned, he said, adding that the port is also equipped with a dry dock and breakwater.
The loading and unloading capacity is projected to be increased to 2.5 million tons, he said.
In August 2012, managing director of the Ports and Maritime Organisation of Iran, Ataollah Sadr said Iran has 14 ports in general, four of which including Astara port are located on the Caspian shore.
The port has been built as a joint venture by the state and the private sector, he noted.
Some 250 billion rials (around $20.4 million) have so far been invested in the project, he said, adding that it aims to enhance commercial transactions with the Caspian Sea states.
The Iranian Shipping Company and KAVEH Company signed a contract in 2009 to build a new port on the Caspian Sea in the town of Astara (bordering Azerbaijan).
The contract period is 40 years. Construction of the port should be completed in around six years. KAVEH leased the port of Astara for 40 years to turn the fishing port into a trading centre.
Astara Port will be commissioned within the 'government week' in Iran, from August 23 to 28. The first stage of the port will be dealing with transportation and loading of goods.
The 'government week' in Iran has been marked each year, since 1981 when Iran's president Mohammad Ali Rajai, Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar and a lot of other officials were assassinated due to a bomb explosion in Tehran./Trend/