During a working visit, a delegation from Guilan Province (the Islamic Republic of Iran), led by the Governor General Asadollah Abbasi, attended the special economic zones of the Astrakhan Region. Sergey Aseyev, First Deputy Director General of SEZ Lotus JSC, and Andrey Nalimov, Deputy Director General of SEZ Lotus JSC, provided a tour of the tenants' production facilities.
During the visit of the foreign guests, the first location was the detergent plant of Rosa LLC, which is currently under construction in the Special Economic Zone Lotus. This is the first project to be executed in Russia by the large Iranian holding company Golrang Industrial Group. Rosa LLC will produce washing powder, shampoo, gel, and other detergents. The total amount of investment in the project exceeds 500 million rubles.
The plant construction is being carried out in two phases. The metal structures for the workshop and warehouse have been installed, and the sandwich wall panels and roof are currently being positioned. According to Kamal Afshari, the project director, the first production line, warehouses, and administrative and amenity complexes are scheduled to be constructed by the end of 2024. The first phase is planned to be operational in 2025, and the designed capacity is expected to be reached in 2029.
The delegates then visited the geosynthetics plant of JSC Gexa-Lotos, which produces materials for building and road construction. The company holds one of the leading positions in its field and exports its products throughout Russia, as well as to Kazakhstan and Belarus. As a part of the production upgrade, a new extrusion machine was put into operation this year. The plant is now capable of producing up to 300 tons of geosynthetics per month. Next year, it will start to produce waterproofing for low-rise buildings.
The delegation members were particularly interested in the attendance at the Lotus Shipyard (incorporated in the Southern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center of the United Shipbuilding Corporation).
The shipyard is currently constructing a fleet of the first Russian-designed multipurpose dry cargo and container vessels, which will be able to carry international standard containers, including reefers, across the Caspian Sea via the International North-South Transport Corridor. In addition, domestically designed self-propelled dredgers with Russian marine equipment are also being built at the shipyard. In the workshop, the Governor General of Guilan Province watched the construction of a chemical tanker and a ship that will be sent to Iran.
At the end of the visit to the Astrakhan Region, the delegation observed the Port Special Economic Zone in the Liman District.
The first phase (8th and 9th berths) of the Port SEZ includes a contemporary terminal for containers and break-bulk, as well as grain and oil terminals. The total capacity of the zone will be about 3 million tons of cargo per year. The warehouses for temporary grain storage have been completed and put into operation, the road to the berths has been built, and the crane rails are under construction. In addition, the construction of open areas for general cargo and container handling, a closed warehouse for packing containers with consolidated cargo, the port administration office, and the access road is underway on the 16-hectare site.
Sergey Aseyev, First Deputy Director General of the Management Company of the Caspian Cluster, noted that the 8th and 9th berths are already operating in test mode. So far, three vessels carrying grain have been shipped for Iran from the berths, and a fourth is being prepared. The berths will start handling containers in the spring of 2024, after the checkpoint is established.
It is worth mentioning that the cargo throughput between Astrakhan and Iranian ports is increasing year by year. For example, in the first nine months of this year, exports increased by 10% and imports by 40%.
The Governor General of Guilan Province Asadollah Abbasi emphasized that Iran is interested in the development of the Olya Seaport of Astrakhan and the Port Special Economic Zone, because cargoes are transported through their terminals across the Caspian Sea between Russia and the ports of Guilan.
– Our ports and free economic zones should have more cooperation with each other in order to increase the cargo flow, – he said.