Local terminal operator Kaveh Marine and Port Services has now taken over operations of the grain terminal at Imam Khomeini port in Iran.

This is the first step of a government plan to privatise the whole port, which lies on Iran’s Gulf coast close to its border with Iraq.

Kaveh Marine and Port Services is a private company and will operate the terminal in a joint venture with Kenyan firm MJ Group.

The companies are also planning to build more grain silos at the port to increase the volume of grain handled and also to create job opportunities for the Iranian people.

The terminal currently handles three million tonnes of grain annually.

Imam Khomeini port which handles about 38 per cent of Iran’s total trade will soon be completely privatised, says the country’s Ports & Maritime Organisation.

The port has three cargo terminals and a container terminal that has the capacity to handle 700,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year. The port has 40 berths in total.

One of the cargo terminals has already been privatised.

Iran hopes to raise $12.5bn through privatising about 524 state-run firms over the next five years to help pay off government debt.

The country’s national carrier Iran Air is among those companies to be privatised. Under Article 44 of the Iranian constitution, the economy of Iran must consist of three sectors: state, cooperative, and private. This article was amended in 2004 to allow 80 per cent of state assets to be privatised (MEED 25:5:10).