It can accommodate giant ships up to a dry weight of 120,000 tonnes
05 December, 2017, 02:25
Chabahar Port is a collaboration between India, Afghanistan, and Iran, to continue trading through Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan (which is constantly denying entry to India) for transit access and finding an alternative to entering the landlocked central Asian countries.
The first three shipments of Indian wheat to Afghanistan were unloaded in the morning, according to the Iranian ports organisation.
The overall development of the port is planned in four phases and is expected to bring its total annual cargo capacity to 82 million tonnes.
■ The Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea. Planned completion of another under-construction multi-purpose terminal and a 610km north-south railway to Afghanistan and Central Asia will turn the port into a strategic asset to India in the face of its geopolitical rivalry with China and Pakistan. The opening of the first phase of Shahid Beheshti Port (out of five phases defined for the project), which has tripled its capacity to 8.5 million tons (equal to that of all the northern ports of the country), will allow the docking of super-large container ships (between 100,000 DWT and 120,000 DWT) and increase India's connectivity with Afghanistan. India's state-owned IRCON has agreed to build a rail route at a cost of $1.6 billion as part of the transit corridor to Afghanistan.
As per Iran media reports, Iran's ambassador to Pakistan, Mehdi Honerdoost stated that Pakistan and China had both been invited to contribute to the project before India, but neither China nor Pakistan had expressed interest in joining.
Those nations are developing the $46bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor that winds down to Pakistan's port of Gwadar, less than 100km from Chabahar. Chabahar also has an worldwide airport and Iran's Navy and Air Force have bases in the city, adding to the ports value. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the Chabahar port development pact to develop connectivity with Afghanistan. "It was also made a decision to convene an expert-level meeting of senior officials of the three countries at the earliest", the joint statement said. "It also shows the importance of the port in the development of the region and the routes that connect Central Asian states to other countries in the world through the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean", he said.
Ahead of the inauguration of the port, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday met her Iranian counterpart Javed Zarif in Tehran during which implementation of the Chabahar port project was discussed among other issues.
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