Monday, August 16, 2004

Khatami hopes the first Iranian ship can be launched next year

Khatami hopes the first Iranian ship can be launched next year
Tehran, Aug 16, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami on Monday expressed hope the first ship to be built by Iran can be launched in sea waters next year.
Speaking at a meeting with managers, staff and sailors of the Iran Shipping Company affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce, he referred to the nation's shipbuilding poetenial and said that despite the slow progress in this field, the country can move forward with the effective measures that have been taken.

"Several big ships are currently being built in the country which can prove to be a major achievement," he added.

Turning to the importance of the shipping industry and waterways in the country's economic development, he equated the power of world governments and nations to the extent of their access to sea waters and use of these waters.

Underlining that "one managing to harness the sea waters can manage to administer the affairs on land," he said that waterways have played a crucial role in the course of history particularly in time of war.

"Just as the sea can contribute to the fulfillment of a world power's hegemonic aspirations, it can be used by a nation and government as a source of power and authority," he added.

Referring to Iran's unique geographical location and its access to international waters and its being a gateway for other countries to international waterways, he said that although the Caspian Sea is being encircled by five littoral states its impact on the social life of those countries is remarkable.

"In view of the vital role of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea in Iran's economy, politics, social situation and security, sailors and those involved in marine affairs have a high status in the domestic scene.

"Besides marine industries give momentum to the country's industries, technology and economy," he added.

Pointing to the role of shipping in the export and import of goods, the president said that to pave the way for economic development major steps in the marine field are indispensable.

Putting the value of national imports at 30 billion dollars, he said that this may be a cause for concern.

"However, in general imported goods used by intermediary industries and those giving momentum to the national industries mark economic development," he added.

The chief executive also praised Iran's performance in the transfer of goods by containers, which made a record of one million 20-foot containers in the past Iranian year (ended March 19).

Prior to the president's speech, Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari addressed the gathering and referred to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines as Iran's major trading fleet and lauded its sincere services in the past years.

The minister said that more than 40 percent of the revenue of the company has been earned through its foreign activities which point to the high potential of Iranian sailors.

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