Iran’s Anzali port in the Caspian Sea could help save time and costs for cargoes moving along the Belt & Road land routes to Europe, an Iranian official said.

“The most important aspect of China’s Belt & Road Initiative is its land transit, but we can play a role in saving time and costs,” said Hamidreza Abaei, director-general of Gilan Province Ports and Maritime Organization, in an interview with semi-official Mehr News Agency.

“By establishing Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) vessels, we can potentially transit trucks loaded with Chinese products from Aktau port of Kazakhstan to Bandar (Port) Anzali, and they can continue the path towards Turkey,” he said, noting this can be an alternative path.

Iran, he added, is expanding the capacity of its northern borders in order to boost trade ties with Eurasian countries and play a role as a transit hub.

“Iranian northern borders, especially those in Gilan Province including Anzali, Astara, and Caspian, are equipped to receive any type of cargo and ship,” Abaei added.

The Iranian official called for improving the quality of Iranian products so as to export them to regional countries and expanding transit to facilitate other countries’ exports through Iranian territory.

According to Mehr News Agency, more than 900,000 tons of cargo has been loaded and unloaded in the Anzali port during the past eight months, a 53-per cent increase compared with the same period of last year.