Skip links
Iran Logistics Industry

Iran Logistics Industry

Iranian Logistics Industry Association As home of one of the most ancient civilization of the world, Iran has abroad variety of business and logistics attractions to offer.

Iran Logistics Industry at a Glance

Number of international passengers



Number of internal passengers



Amount of internationally transported goods

40,561 tons


Number of passengers (2014)



Number of stations


Number of locomotives


Number of truck trips (Imports)


The average weight of transit products

21 tons

Number of truck trips (Exports)


Number of container ships


Total capacity of ships

5.2 million tons

Iran territorial waters

5,800 km


Some of the key points about Iran logistics Industry conditions are as the following:

  • Vast country (near 2,500 km sea borders and 6,500 km land borders)
  • Neighbors – Iran has land and sea borders with 13 countries directly
  • Easy access to open seas
  • Easy access to many countries in the Middle-East
  • Located in 5 international transit and business corridors: International North-West Transport Corridor(INSTC), Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia (TRACECA), International East-West Transport Corridor (IEWTC), South Asia Corridor and Asian Land Transportation Infrastructure Development (ALTID)
  • Usage of 4 way transportation with proper infrastructure such as: roadway, railway, airway and seaway
  • Great capacity of exchanges between Iran’s northern neighbors and southern
  • Several appropriate and strategic ports such as Shahid Rajai Port
  • Free Trade Zones, especially beside Persian Gulf
  • Low price of fuel and energy
  • Low labor costs
  • Suitable railway transportation network

Iran – International Logistics

Iranian Logistics Industry Association As home of one of the most ancient civilization of the world, Iran has abroad variety of business and logistics attractions to offer. During last years, the Iranian government was actively seeking to develop the logistics infrastructures industry and improve its global ranking Iran used to be one of the most important countries in the way of silk road in ancient times, and nowadays because of its strategic location in the Middle East is considered as one of the important hubs in the world.

Logistic Performance Index

The Logistic Performance Index (LPI) is based on a worldwide survey of operators (global freight forwarders and express carriers), providing feedback on the “logistic friendliness” of the countries in which they operate and of those with which they trade. They combine in-depth knowledge of the countries where they operate, informed qualitative assessments of other countries they trade in and, their experience of global logistics environment. Feedback from operators is supplemented with quantitative data on the performance of key components of the logistics chain in the country of work.
The LPI consists therefore of both qualitative and quantitative measures and helps build profiles of logistic friendliness for these countries. It measures performance along the logistics supply chain within a country and offers two different perspectives: international and domestic.
The LPI overall score reflects perceptions of a country’s logistics based on efficiency of the customs clearance process, quality of trade and transport-related infrastructure, ease of arranging competitively priced shipments, quality of logistics services, ability to track and trace consignments, and frequency with which shipments reach the consignee within the scheduled time. The index ranges from 1 to 5, with a higher score representing better performance.

The Logistic Performance Index (LPI) is based on a worldwide survey of operators (global freight forwarders and express carriers), providing feedback on the “logistic friendliness” of the countries in which they operate and of those with which they trade

Countries are assessed on the basis of six key dimensions:

  • Efficiency of the clearance process (i.e., speed, simplicity and
  • predictability of formalities) by border control agencies, including customs
  • Quality of trade and transport related infrastructure (e.g., ports,
  • railroads, Road Transport, information technology)
  • Ease of arranging competitively priced shipments;
  • Competence and quality of logistics services (e.g., transport operators,customs brokers)
  • Ability to track and trace consignments;
  • Timeliness of shipments in reaching the destination within the scheduled or expected delivery time.
Logistic Performance Index

Within the Middle-East region, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have similar LPI scores across most aspects, while Iran still is far behind them.

The Iranian government has acknowledged many of these deficiencies and has prioritized improvements in the future. Post the adoption of the JCPOA, a substantial step forward can be expected, which should result in Iran’s LPI increasing over the coming years

Iran Trade Status

Iran’s total non-oil exports in 2015 (including gas condensates) was 93.5 million tons and 42,414 million USD.Iran’s total imports in 2015 reached 35 million tons

Iran – Logistics Today

As part of its transport policy, recent transport developments advanced by Iran’s Ministry of Transport and Urban Development in relation with 15 neighboring countries are outlined in the following sections and categorized geographically into northern, eastern, southern, and western neighbors.

1: Iran railway

Iran’s first line was the Trans-Iranian railway, built in the 1930s to connect the Caspian Sea at Bandar-e-Torkaman with the Persian Gulf at Bandar-e Imam Khomeini. The topography of Iran consists of rugged, mountainous rims surrounding high interior basins and this has played a large role in stifling development of a comprehensive railway network. The Trans-Iranian railway for example required more than 3,00 bridges and over 100 tunnels. Iran’s rail infrastructure requires significant investment. Currently there is less than 13,000 kilometers of track. For a country of its size, some 1.64 million square kilometers, this is far from adequate for both passenger travel and international trade. If you compare the length of Iran’s railway lines to that of country’s with a similar area, Germany has 19 times more than Iran, Poland 10 times more and Turkey has more than double. There are however significant plans to invest and expand railway infrastructure with an expected spend of over 8bn USD in the coming 5 years. The ultimate goal is increase total rail cover to over 25,000 kilometers by 2025. This is much needed and should add significant value to Iran’s economy over time, allowing more domestic and international trade.

Iran railway

2:Iran Airway

There are 8 active airports in Iran. Imam Khomeini Airport, located 30 kilometers south west of Tehran, is the largest and most profitable one. In 2015, it handled over 6.5 million passengers, and this is expected to grow to 8 million in 2016. According to the Minister of Transportation and Metropolitan Development, there are 266 aircraft in Iran, however only 108 of which are currently active and just 12 were built after the year 2000.There is an intention to modernize their fleet however, with nearly 550 planes likely to be purchased by 2025. Post the adoption of the JCPOA, Iran Air has already put forward a purchase order of up to 100 Boeing Aircraft.

3:Iran Seaway

With almost 90 percent of Iran’s foreign trade taking place through its territorial waters, Iran’s ports (of which there are 11 primary ones) are especially important. The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines Group is the primary domestic player in this area, and following the adoption of the JCPOA, have announced their intention to be one of the worlds top 10 shipping lines by 2020.

List of Iranian shipping companies and its role in Iran’s logistics industry (OVE)

Main shipping activities have included container transportation, bulk and general cargo transportation, shipping services in the Caspian Sea, ship management, cargo and passenger transportation, and maritime insurance services. Owns or controls the following companies:

  • E-Sail Shipping
  • Company
  • Iran o Hind Shipping Company
  • IRISL Benelux NV
  • South Way Shipping Agency Co. Ltd (Iran) (South Shipping Line Iran)
Iranian shipping companies

Iran Roadway

Iran has a total area of 1,648,195 square kilometers including 31 provinces. All provinces, capital and main cities, villages and urban areas are connected via roads. Roads similarly link Iran internationally via borders at the north, west and east of the country. In total there are 83,485 kilometers of “inter-province” roads, including main roads, highways, freeways and access roads and a further 140,000 kilometers of inner-town and suburban roads. There are over 11 million registered vehicles in Iran. All freeways and highways are asphalted and surfaces are in good condition. Around 28,000 kilometers of inner-town and suburb roads are not asphalted however the surface condition is good and all are accessible for small trucks and vehicles. Road marking and guard rails are under maintenance and supervision of the Ministry of Roads and Construction. All roads are under control of the Traffic Police and security-wise under control of the Security Police Force. On all highways, main roads and freeways, the speed control is under supervision of the traffic police and all highways and freeways are equipped with speed-cameras. All trucks and transit trailers are equipped with GPS in order to allow the police to locate and control them.

Iran Roadway

Iran – Logistics Big Players

There are 3 main categories for Iran logistics’ stakeholders: Government and local Authorities, Associations and Academia, and Operators. 

Iran Freight & Logistics Market Key Players

  • 5 Continents International Transport Co
  • Arvand Sealand Co. PJS
  • Saadat Group
  • Tehran Nasim International Transportation
  • DHL Iran

Overview of freight services in the logistics industry of Iran (OVE)

iran has a broad variety of business and logistics attractions to offer. In the last few years, the Iranian government has actively sought to develop the logistics infrastructures and improve its global ranking. Iran used to be one of the most important countries situated on the ancient Silk Road and is considered one of the important hubs because of its strategic location in the Middle East.

Iran Freight & Logistics Market Recent Developments

By increasingly operationalizing its section of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Iran is trying to step up its presence in the geo-economy of Eurasia with the strategic goal of reviving its historic role as the link connecting north and south Eurasia. Indeed, during the past few years, participation in the corridor —  which connects the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran and then Northern Europe via the Caucasus and Russia — has become the focal point of Tehran’s economic diplomacy.

Iran Logistics’ Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths Railway:
  • Drawing out long and short-term plans of railway development in goods and passenger transport, infrastructure and equipment
  • Less environmental pollution
  • More safety than other transportation methods
  • Low production costs
  • Low finished costs
  • Strong emphasis by the leader and senior managers of Iran on the development of railway transit. Airway
  • Large number of airports across the country with proper infrastructure
  • Strategic geographic location. Using the Iranian air corridors allows for a reduced travel time between Europe and Asia
  • All but one province have an airport. Overall there are 54 airports in Iran
  • A planned increase of the fleet size after the lifting of sanctions.

Weaknesses Railway

  • Insufficient number of locomotives relative to the railway lines and to available carriages
  • Old carriages
  • Lack of professional facilities for goods transportation
  • Lack of railway lines leading to commercial ports such as Chabahar, Asaluyeh and Bushehr port
  • Slow growth of rail transportation in comparison to roadway transit 
  • Lack of multimodal and combined goods transport
  • Low profitability of the Airports: out of 54 airports, 51 are not profitable 
  • Low productivity aviation industry due to poor management
  • Lack of regular flights to export destinations. Seaway 
  • The lack of competition resulting from strict regulations is harmful to the development of the sector
  • Lack of coordination between internal and international rules and laws
  • Insufficient standard containers for transporting special goods
  • Services provided by ports do not match international standards
  • Non-conformity to the latest technological achievements. Roadway

Iran is a country that links the west and east of the world, and it always has had a great strategic importance for trading, transportation and logistics. This white paper thought to present a brief introduction to Iran’s Logistics Industry. Key figures and facts in regards to the industry include:
Iran’s total non-oil exports in 2015, including gas condensates was 93.5 million tons and 42,414 million USD. Iran’s total imports in 2015 reached 35 million tons and amounted to 41,490 million USD. China, UAE and Iraq are the top three trade partners of Iran. Iran Government has important plans for expanding Railway and Airway industry of Iran. Iran’s Rail infrastructure requires significant investment. Currently there is less than 13,000 kilometers of track and this is far from adequate for both passenger travel and international trade. In the Airway sector, Iran is suffering from an obsolete air fleet; lack of collaboration and coordination with other transportation sectors and low profitability of the airports. In conclusion, Iran’s logistics industry needs a lot of investment and it is seen as a profitable sector for foreigners to invest. A large market of 80 million inhabitants that are affected by the current infrastructure (old, non-secure and slow) and a government that is trying to improve the infrastructure, especially after sanction relief.

ILIΛ's website uses cookies to improve your web experience.