Iranian Imports From Caspian Littoral States Up 19% In Volume

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Significant trade trends showing INSTC is coming online

Iran’s imports from the four Caspian littoral states (Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) increased by 53% in value and 19% in volume during the first 11 months of the current fiscal Iranian year (March 21, 2021 through February 19, 2022), compared to the same period during the previous year, according to Iran’s Customs Administration (IRICA).

The data is significant because it illustrates the growing use of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) from Iran’s Caspian Sea ports, and Iran’s signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) last year. The EAEU includes Caspian nations Kazakhstan and Russia, while Azerbaijan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and has bilateral free trade agreements with the EAEU nations.

The IRICA said that Iran imported about 3.49 million tons of goods worth more than US$1.57 billion from the Caspian nations for the fiscal period. Of these, Iran’s imports from Russia for 11 months amounted to 3.26 million tons worth US$1.45 billion.

Over the same 11 month period, Iran imported 165,000 tons of goods from Kazakhstan worth about US$56.3 million. The Kazakh imports increased by 57% in value and 88% in volume.

Iran’s imports from Azerbaijan for period reached 20,300 tons, valued at US$35.8 million, an increase of 66% in value, but a decrease of about 16% in volume.

Iran imported 40,600 tons of goods worth US$30 million from Turkmenistan, an increase of 64% in value and a decrease of 35%in volume.

Iran’s trade turnover with four Caspian states for the first 11 months of the current Iranian fiscal year reached about 7 million tons worth more than US$3 billion. The trade turnover increased by 39% in value and 23% in volume compared to the same period last year.

Iran is a key node with the INSTC, and provides access to Caspian nations from Europe, with goods travelling east to the Azerbaijan’s Baku Port. It is just 178 nautical miles to Iran’s Rasht and Anzali Ports from where goods can be dispersed throughout Iran and further south to Chabahar Port with access to the Middle East, East Africa, and India.

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email or visit us at