0628 GMT October 20, 2019
Ministry of Roads and Urban Development plans to hold an international conference in Tehran on October 3 and 4 to present investment prospects in Iran to foreign and domestic investors.
Elaborating on the confab titled 'Investment Opportunities in Transportation, Housing and Urban Development', Amir Amini, a deputy roads and urban development minister, said, "Iran's marine and air transportation sectors suffered considerable losses from stiff Western sanctions. During that time-span, a large number of foreign companies were prohibited from funding Iranian projects due to the embargoes."
In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, he added the ministry has compiled a list of 121 top priority projects for presentation in the upcoming forum.
Amini said the projects pertain to road, rail, air and marine transportation sectors, urban development, developing ports and airports as well as optimizing urban energy systems.
"The government does not intend to hand over the projects entirely to foreign investors, but rather seeks to take part in their implementation as joint ventures. This is because transportation projects normally yield profits in the long-run."
He noted in view of the country's present economic condition, the government cannot offer additional facilities to foreign firms.
Reaffirming President Hassan Rouhani's earlier statement, Amini said in case the number of foreign investors surpasses that of domestic projects, Iran will prioritize the countries which supported Iran at the time of the sanctions and did not leave their projects incomplete.
"Although banking restrictions have directly or indirectly impaired Iran's road construction industry, the ministry never pulled out of the sector's projects. It only had to bear extra costs."
He further said Iran is located along the East-West and North-South corridors, adding the sanctions have caused a greatly harmed to Iran's road transportations through the corridors.
"Due to the sanctions a large number of foreign firms were barred from investing in the Iranian ports along the Persian Gulf. Moreover, foreign ships were not permitted to call at these ports."
Amini said the Strait of Hormuz, located between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, helps reduce the duration of sea voyage from Asia to Europe from 45 days to 35 days.
"Following the removal of the embargoes, not only other countries will be able to invest in the development of the Persian Gulf ports, but also foreign vessels can call at these ports. This will be in the interest of the domestic economy."
He added although the number of marine and air transportation projects exceed those in the road sector, foreign investors are normally more interested in the latter.
The deputy minister recalled that on average 437,000 cargo trucks ply Iranian roads, adding in Iran private companies are in charge of road transportation.
"Statistics indicate that about 220,000 trucks plying the country's roads per year, do not carry any cargos. The ministry intends to define transportation fleet in three categories: Agriculture, industrial and tourism and draw up plans to minimize energy dissipation in this sector."