New seaport could boost cargo turnover on the Caspian Sea

A new port is planned for the Caspian Sea. Credit: Port of Lagan

A group of Iranian companies expressed their interest in investing in the Port of Lagan, Batu Khasikov, governor of the Kalmykia Republic, Russia, said during a press conference in early March 2020.

The transshipment capacity of Lagan port is expected to be 22.5 million tonnes of cargo per year. For comparison, the total capacity of all Russian seaports on the Caspian Sea amounts to 7.5 million tonnes. According to Khasikov, building the Port of Lagan could significantly expand cargo flow between Russia and Iran.

The construction would cost an estimated RUB100 billion (USD1.6 billion), Vitaly Daginov, general director of the Port of Lagan, said during a press conference in 2019. The cost is high as relevant infrastructure would also need to be built around, including a highway and railway connection, and ship automatic traffic systems, he estimated.

POLY Group and China Energy Engineering Group International have confirmed their plans to invest in the construction of the port. Chinese investors are primarily interested in the port because of the transit opportunities it may offer, Daginov commented.

China exports USD600 billion worth of goods per year to Europe and some part of that flow could be re-directed to pass through the Port of Lagan, he added. The state-of-the-art, year-round seaport could become an important element of the new transport corridor in the region, he further said.

So far, the pool of investors for the project has not been formed completely, and so construction is pending. Under the project, the depth of the seaport should be deepened to 13 metres. The regional authorities earlier reported that dredging operations would begin at the end of 2019, but so far no works have been planned.