The Port of Amirabad lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea about 34 kilometers northeast of Sari, Iran. The Amirabad Port Special Economic Zone of Behshar plays an important role in the local and national economies. With 1000 hectares of zone-supporting lands, the Port of Amirabad is poised to play a competitive role in the international trade arena.
Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) is the port authority for all ports in the country. It was established as the “South Customs Branch” in 1914 at Bushehr with responsibility for monitoring Iran’s coasts and ports to prevent smuggling. The Directorate of Ports was established in 1928 to govern all affairs of Iran’s ports, and port facilities were constructed for the first time in northern areas of the country.
In 1946, the Council of Ministries established a special fund for the development of Iran’s port facilities. In 1966, today’s ports and shipping organization was created, and it gained status as a legal entity in 1969. In 1974, the PMO was transferred to the Ministry of Roads and Transportation.
The Port of Amirabad was established to take advantage of the strategic importance of the Caspian Sea to surrounding markets and trade as well as its potential to improve the country’s transportation and communication networks.
The Port of Amirabad is Iran’s only northern port connected to the nation’s railroad system. It contains 33 berths to load and discharge cargo. The Port of Amirabad has capacity to move up to five million tons of oil and commercial goods each year. It offers both rail and truck roll-on/roll-off berths. Much of the area is dedicated to support the port’s petrochemicals plants and oil refineries.
The strategic advantage of the Port of Amirabad is its easy access to other areas in Iran and to central Asia, Russia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Far East through proximity to the country’s air, land, and sea networks. Shipbuilding and oil exploration industries in nearby Neka further enhance the Port of Amirabad’s strategic advantage. Furthermore, the Port of Amirabad is near other industrial centers and tourist attractions like Miankaleh Island, Lapo Swamp, and the historic Abbas Abad.
The Port of Amirabad contains a stacking warehouse of 16 thousand square meters, a directory warehouse of 840 square meters, and three twin warehouses of 30 thousand square meters. In addition, the port offers nine million square meters of back-up area and one million square meters of operational area.
In the 2005-2006 shipping season, 268 cargo ships and two oil tankers anchored at the Port of Amirabad. The port handled 761.6 thousand tons of non-oil imports and 26.6 thousand tons of non-oil transit cargoes. Ships discharged a total of 792.3 thousand tons of imports and loaded 11.4 thousand tons of cargo dominated by non-oil exports.
In the future, the Port of Amirabad’s Special Economic Zone will contain three areas for oil, industry, and general cargo. An additional 34 berths are planned, as is an eight thousand ton silo. Three new transit warehouses will add 30 thousand square meters of storage area.