YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–One of the largest transport-forwarder companies of Armenia–Armtransforwarder JV–concluded an agreement with the Iranian Transport Department on free travel of Armenian vehicles on Iranian territory–Armtrans forwarder Board Chairman Meruzhan Sumbatyan told Noyan Tapan.
Iran does not allow Armenian vehicles access to Iran as it considers their technical characteristics to fall short of international standards. From now on–however–this ban will not be applied to Armtransforwarder trucks–Sumbatyan said. The given agreement will open the way for Armenian freight vehicles and allow them to ship cargo from the port of Poti in Georgia to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf.
According to Sumbatyan–Armtransforwarder had an opportunity to ship 800 thousand tons of cargo via Armenia to Iran this year. It would have yielded over $10 million as taxes and a profit of approximately $30 million to the Ministry of Transport for involving its means of transportation in the process.
Another flow of 500 to 700 thousand tons could have been shipped due to cargo shipmen’s from Central Asia via Iran to Europe. A total of 1.5 million tons of cargo was transported by Armenian railroad last year.
The company suggested that the Armenian government should allow a duty-free entrance of cargo to Armenia’so to make shipmen’s via Armenia attractive–but the government has not agreed on the measure yet.
At present–a duty of $160-$220 is collected from each Iranian vehicle entering Armenia. In consequence–the bulk of the trucks bypasses Armenia and goes through Azerbaijan instead.
Since 1996 the annual amount of business of Armtransforwarder JV has been about 1 million dollars. For the first six months of 1999 Armtransforwarder JV’s volume of business decreased by 30 percent.
Armtransforwarder JV–founded in Armenia in 1994–is co-owned by Sea-Land Service Inc. of the United States and Kavtracks of Georgia as well as individuals from Armenia. The company ships all kinds of containers by sea via Poti and other Black Sea ports to CIS countries and Central and Eastern Europe. It also operates transits via Iran to countries of Central Asia–the Middle East and South-East Asia. The company is a member of the Association of Foreign Investors. In 1997–Armtransforwarder was admitted to FIATA.