Iran plans to establish six dry ports as per its sixth five-year development plan (2017-22), a deputy minister of roads and urban development said.

Amir Amini added that Iran has conducted comprehensive studies regarding development of dry ports, noting that Mashhad, Tabriz, the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport and the Aprin train station on the outskirts of the capital city are potential sites where the dry ports may be established, IRNA reported.

“Recent studies propose we should consider the ports of Anzali, Chabahar, Bandar Imam Khomeini and Shahid Rajaee as seaports to support inland dry ports to facilitate the transportation of goods across the country”, he said.

“Iran can sign agreements with the landlocked countries of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to give them access to free waters via dry ports established in Iran.”

Amini noted that the government is planning to attract private sector investment for the expansion of dry ports, estimating that each dry port needs 400 billion to 1 trillion rials ($10-26.8 million) of investment.

Overall, he said, Iran needs 3-7 trillion rials ($80-190 million) to carry out its dry port development plan.

Iran secured a deal with Switzerland in December for investment in the Aprin dry port. A $25-million contract was signed between the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Swiss logistics holding Trans Invest Group, to start work on Aprin transport terminal, 20 kilometers to the southwest of Tehran, where Iran’s north-south and east-west rail transit routes meet.

IRIR said back then that the construction of a warehouse and installation of customs equipment will be completed within two years.

A dry port is a terminal situated in an inland area with rail connections to one or more container seaports. A container freight train service runs between the seaports and the dry port, on a service timetable that is integrated with the schedules of the container ships arriving at the seaport.