A Glance at Performance of Road, Sea, Air and Railway Transportation in the Islamic Republic of Iran

San'at Hamlo Naql [Transport Industry]; Economic Magazine (Monthly)
Feb. 2000, No. 186

Summary: According to Engineer Seyed Mohammad Hojati, Minister of Roads and transportation, 6,500 kilometers of roads are being built in various parts of the country. Presently, there are 150,000 kilometers of main roads, detours and highways across the country. Moreover, construction of the terminal and runway of Arak airport has been finished and it is ready to come on stream. As for the transit of goods by railway, Dr, Rahman Dadman, Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport put the figure in 1998 at 1.52 billion tons/kilometers. Also, the total cargoes carried by the road, marine and air fleets in 1998 reached 60 billion tons/kilometers. In the same year, the Islamic Republic Shipping Lines (IRSL), managed to transport 11.5 million tons/rent of cargoes. The organization also succeeded to reduce the age of 22 out of its 78 ships from 17 years to five years. The transportation capacity of 82 ocean going ships of IRSL stands at 2,420,000 tons.


Road Transportation
Commenting on the programs being pursued by the Ministry of Roads and Transport, Engineer Seyed Mohammad Hojati, the Minister of Roads and Transport said: "at present, 6,500 kilometers of roads are being built in various parts of the country and construction of another 3,200 kilometers of roads is on the agenda of this ministry.

"Presently, there are 150,000 kilometers of main roads, detours and highways throughout the country, of which 10,000 kilometers such as Salafchekan axis are considered "special communication artery."

"The roads and transport minister added: "with regards to the fact that these main roads are considered the main communication routes in the country, widening and renovation of them is among the major programs of the Ministry of Roads and Transport."

Engineer Hojati, saying that proper road building would prepare the ground for the country's sustainable development, noted: "of 10,000 kilometers of roads considered main communication routes, 5,000 kilometers have been widened and plans are under way to widen the rest."

He added that simultaneous with the Government Week (Aug. 24-30), 200 kilometers of new roads came on stream throughout the country.

Engineer Hojati said, "Construction work on the premises and runway of the Arak airport has been completed and the airport was to be inaugurated by President Mohammad Khatami during his forthcoming visit to the Central Province.

Terming the Tehran terminal as one of the important projects implemented by the Ministry of Roads and Transport, he said: "the project which came to stream in the presence of President Mohammad Khatami concurrently with the Government Week plays a key role in solving environmental problems and easing the public's traffic."

On the Variant-Rahjerd and the fourth phase of Arak-Salafchekan axis, the roads and transport minister said that 22 billion rials has been spent on the implementation of the fourth phase of the project which is 30 kilometer long.

According to Hojati, Arak-Salafchekan axis is one of the most frequented communication routes in the country and with implementation of the project, road accidents will sharply decrease and vehicle traffic will gain momentum.

Engineer Hojati said "it took nine months to implement the plan (the fourth phase of Arak-Salafchekan route) while in similar projects only contract signing might take the same time. He put the total budget allocated to widening Arak-Salafchekan axis at 80 billion rials and said the remaining 30 kilometers of the project will have become operational by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (ends on March 19)."

The minister said that 23,000 vehicles traveled on the road per day and before being widened many road accidents used to happen on the route.

Dr. Rahman Dadman, Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport and Managing Director of the State Railway Company gave an account of the performance of the Railway Company over the past two years under President Mohammad Khatami's Administration as follows:

"The total of goods transited via railway last year reached 1.52 billion tons/kilometers, showing a 20 percent increase. (In 1997, the Railway Company carried 1.13 billion tons/kilometer of cargoes from Iranian ports to the Central Asian countries and Europe.)

The export of these goods increased following the incentive policies enforced by the government to promote export of non-oil commodities. Some 1,071,225 tons of goods were exported abroad by railway from March to August 1999, registering a 550 percent increase compared to the corresponding period in 1998. He said over 70 percent of goods transported by railway last year were non-oil commodities. In 1997, the Railway Company of the Islamic Republic of Iran transited 1,000 tons of cotton and the figure has risen to 400,000 tons, indicating diversity of cargo transport, use of new routes for transport of commodities and attraction of new customers.

The volume of goods transported by the State Railway Company in the first month of the current Iranian year (beginning March 1999) increased by 15 percent and the figure is expected to further grow by the end of the year due to the incentive policies implemented by the government to promote non-oil exports and to new contracts signed (for transport of goods).

The managing director of the State Railway Company put the total of goods transported by road, marine and air fleets last year at 60 billion tons/kilometer and said the share of the railway was 13.5 billion tons/kilometer.

Last year, the deputy roads and transportation minister said, the Railway Company managed to register a 10 percent growth in this sector by replacing 250 ageing wagons with 316 new ones. He said that 9.7 passengers were transferred by railway last year, of whom 40 to fifty percent traveled on Tehran-Mashhad route. He added that the Railway Company of the Islamic Republic of Iran put into operation 290 kilometers of Chadormalu-Ardakan rail tracks, one lane of the two lane track between Tehran and Qom and the Jajrom lane at a total cost of 400 billion rials.

Dadman predicted that by the end of the current Iranian year 400 kilometers of railroad tracks including the second Tehran-Qom line, and 250 kilometers of Tehran-Mashhad double line track would be inaugurated at a total cost of 500 billion rials from public and domestic railway industries funds.

According to Dadman, the average construction of new railroad tracks which stood at 150 kilometers during the first and second five year development plans has reached 400 kilometers this year.

The managing director of the State Railway Company added that in order to increase efficiency of railroad networks, ensure traffic safety and accelerate train trips, work has already started to install safety electronic signs along various routes including the one between Tehran and Mashhad. Some 12 stations along this route are to be equipped with electronic safety signs by German experts, 13 stations by domestic experts and 27 stations mainly located between Shahroud and Mashhad by Indian experts.

He predicted that altogether 15 stations along the Tehran-Mashhad route will have been equipped with electronic signs by the end of the current calendar year.

He stated that domestic experts have acquired necessary technological know-how for equipping railway stations with electronic signs.

He said that the State Railway Company is now capable of exporting technical and engineering services to foreign countries and the company experts have now participated in international tenders announced by Libya and Syria.

He said that the State Railway Company would try to confine technological know-how needed for equipping railway stations with electronic signs to the purchase of parts and systems.

The deputy minister of roads and transportation said that over the past two years, 65 locomotives have been renovated by domestic experts, 186 locomotives have undergone basic repair works, 7,000 cargo cars been overhauled, 13,000 undergone annual repair and 850 cargo cars been renovated.

In the same period, Dadman said, 461 kilometers of nationwide railroad network have been improved and 191 kilometers renovated.

He said that such repair work done by domestic experts saved the country an average of 30 million dollars in foreign exchange per year.

At present, due to the technological progress of Iranian industries, 995 percent of parts used in cargo cars, 50 percent of most frequently used parts of locomotives and many other railway related equipment were now being manufactured domestically.

He said, "Before 1996, 150 million dollars in foreign exchange was allocated for the Railway Company every year but in the years 1997 and 1998 the company received a total of 80 million dollars. Despite the fact that some equipment needed by the company is made domestically, there exist foreign exchange shortages in this sector and we hope that the company's needs for hard currencies would be met."

He said, "A 300 million dollar contract has been signed with France to purchase 100 new locomotives in order to equip the country's railway transportation sector. The locomotives are to be delivered to Iran four years after the contract goes into effect."

Dadman said that under the contract 25 of the 100 locomotives would be imported to the country and the rest would be manufactured inside the country after transfer of necessary technological know-how.

The Islamic Republic Shipping Lines carried 11.5 million tons/rent of goods last year, of which 10.4 million ton/rent were transported by Iranian ships and 1.1. million tons/rent by chartered ships. The figure showed a decrease of 21.8 million tons compared to the similar period in 1997. Of these cargoes, 8.4 million tons were imported goods, 0.7 million tons/rent exported goods and 2.4 million tons were transport of international commodities.

The transport of exported and international goods last year registered a 91.2 and 230.8 percent increase respectively compared to the year 1997. The total of goods (non-oil) imported to the country last year weighed 15,232 tons of which 14,690 tons arrived at Iranian ports. Of the total imported goods, 8,370,000 tons were transported by the Islamic Republic Shipping Lines and its subsidiary companies. The shipping company also managed to reduce the average age of 22 out of its 78 ships to five years from 17 years. The company also inked a contract for purchase of a number of ships and for renovation of some others. To this end, it purchased four 72,000 ton Panamax ships from South Korea, five 22,000 ton multipurpose ships from China and four container ships from South Korea which will be delivered to Iran by the end of 2000.

The Islamic Republic Shipping Lines has signed a contract with an Iranian shipbuilding company to buy six 22,000 ton multipurpose ships. It is to be noted that the total displacement capacity of 82 ocean going ships belonging to the Islamic Republic Shipping Lines stands at 2,420,000 tons.

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