Iran’s First Worldwide Air Freight Logistics Hub Near Tehran

31 May 2017

Air Freight Cargo Plane

Deal Struck to Build Iran’s First Worldwide Air Freight Logistics Hub

Iran’s worldwide air freight capacity is really set to take off now a deal has been signed with Swiss and Dutch companies to help the country design, construct and develop its first worldwide logistics centre south of Tehran, at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).

IKIA signed this latest agreement with Swiss-based ADI Consulting GmbH and Netherlands Airport Consultant Company (NACO), according to presstv. 

Vice President for Investment and Economic Affairs of the airport, Hossein Tajik commented that air freight transport logistics would aid the country’s development and: “…is an essential element for this purpose.”

He also said that the capacity to transport 100,000 tonnes of cargo from this air freight forwarding airport could increase value for the country equivalent to that of about a million extra passengers for Iran.  Until now, he commented, the country has not taken advantage of its full capacity for creating growth. 

On the other hand, we are in an area that has a market value of about 400 million people around the country,” this being due to a variety of factors, both internal and external.

Jean Godart at ADI Logistics said that the focus on logistics is “a way to success” Iran.  The company was established in Switzerland almost twenty years ago to manage cargo transportation and logistics capacity in the air freight sector. The company’s success means it developed expertise over time and expanded its consulting services in logistics business building, infrastructure management and development. It has offices in the Middle East, so is well placed to work closely with IKIA.

This Dutch air freight forwarding development deal following the earlier cancellation of a preliminary agreement for IKIA’s expansion with the French industrial group, Bouygues.  A memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed with the company in January 2016 for them to build and operate a terminal at IKIA.  This was set to handle around 20 million passengers per year.  However, Mahmoud Navidi, Managing Director of IKIA Airport City Company claimed Bouygues had failed to fulfil its commitments under that agreement. 

IKIA is about 40 km south-west of Tehran and currently handles 6 million air passengers.  Following the failure of the earlier Bouygues' agreement, Iran solicited further investment in the terminal, much to the delight of many Iranian companies and their overseas partners.

IKIA’s Managing Director said: "Currently, 50 domestic and foreign companies have announced readiness to invest in the Iranshahr terminal in the form of BLT (build, lease and transfer)."  Some readers might know this as BOT i.e. Build, Operate, Transfer.  Original designs for IKIA were prepared by a US consortium before the Islamic Revolution, so air freight forwarding from the country’s capital has been slow to get off the ground, given subsequent obstacles.  However, since the lifting of sanctions, the aspirations to make IKIA a regional air travel hub are taking flight. 

Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport City Project (IKAC)

In December 2015, Iran awarded the development of an ‘airport town’ near IKIA to Dutch partner, NACO.  This company committed to providing consulting services for the first phase of development of IKIA Airport Town, (or IKAC, as it is known), this lasting five years.

Hossein Tajik said that an Iranian expert team will cooperate in the IKIA expansion project, which is a truly international partnership.  Expertise is coming from France’s AccorHotels, who opened Novotel and Ibis nearby last year.   Business leaders and representatives of 150 aviation companies, such as Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer have all participated in the development project.  France’s Airbus also struck a $19 billion deal last year for 100 commercial aircraft for Iran. Three planes have been delivered so far, with more expected to come.

IRNA news agency reported that Iran’s first logistics town involves ADI designing a comprehensive plan for Imam Khomeini Airport City (IKAC) logistics hub. NACO will be responsible for providing consulting services for the project.

Phase 1 of Iran’s air freight transport expansion project here includes a passenger terminal, named "Salam"; this could welcome around five million passengers a year.  Another passenger terminal, named "Iranshahr" will manage 20 - 22 million passengers each year.  IKIA will also encompass a free trade zone, welcomed by the Iranian business community and freight forwarding and logistics companies in Iran in particular.  IKIA Airport city could see an increase of upwards of 30 million passengers from the current 8 million in the next five years.  This is great news for everyone.

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