Iran's exports of steel to neighboring Afghanistan have been suspended amid the current political and logistical turmoil in Afghanistan, Iranian steel industry sources told S&P Global Platts.
Iran is Afghanistan's biggest steel supplier, typically exporting 300,000 mt – 350,000 mt/year to that nation, accounting for around 25% of Afghanistan's total steel imports, according to the sources. The exports are mainly of construction steel rebars produced by Esfahan Steel (ESCO) and by Khourasan Steel Co., which is close to Herat province, in western Afghanistan. Earlier this year ESCO signed an accord to supply steel rails to Afghanistan, according to local reports.
Steelmakers in Turkey, Pakistan, China and CIS nations also supply Afghanistan. The country also has some local domestic scrap-based billet and rebar production.
Iran's steel exports to Afghanistan started to dry up several weeks ago but the sources expect this trade to resume within weeks due to the importance of this market and the proximity to Afghanistan of some Iranian steel mills, which makes Iran a natural supplier.
"Export to Afghanistan, which was an important target market for rebar mills has been suspended about one month ago and there is no steel trade with this country at the moment," a Tehran-based trader told Platts Sept. 1. "Shipment of fuel to Afghanistan has begun but steel is not a top priority of this country for the time being."
A 225-kilometer railroad between Khaf in eastern Iran and Herat was inaugurated in December 2020, facilitating Iranian shipments to Herat.