EghtesadOnline: Super-large container ships (between 100,000 DWT and 120,000 DWT) would be able to dock in Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti Port with the completion of Phase 1 of the development project of the southern Iranian port, located in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, comes on stream next week, an official in charge of the project, Amir Hossein Esmaeili, announced on Monday.
“The current loading and unloading capacity of the port will increase from 2.5 million tons to 8.5 million tons upon the completion of Phase 1,” he said.
“A total of $1 billion have been invested in the development and equipment of Phase 1. Shahid Beheshti Port will have four phases with the overall capacity of 77 million tons based on the long-term goal set for its development project.”
Esmaeili said more than 65% of progress in the development project of Chabahar Port pertain to the fiscal 2013-14 onward, according to Financial Tribune.
“Chabahar’s railroad development project has also made a 25% progress. Railroad transportation will account for about 20-30% of the cargo movement in Shahid Beheshti Port,” Mana quoted him as saying.
Managing Director of Ports and Maritime Organization Mohammad Rastad said President Hassan Rouhani and transportation ministers of 27 countries will attend the inauguration ceremony of Phase 1 of Shahid Beheshti Port.
Transit via Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti Port is $1,000 cheaper than ports of Pakistan and even 15 million rials ($375) cheaper than Shahid Rajaee Port, Iran’s biggest container port at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, according to the director general of Ports and Maritime Organization of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Behrouz Aqaei.
India is in talks with Iran to begin interim operations at Chabahar.
India has committed $500 million to Chabahar Port that it is promoting to bypass rival Pakistan and crack open a trade and transport route to landlocked Afghanistan, as well as the resource-rich countries of Central Asia.
New Delhi plans to send seven shipments of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar by the end of January. A first shipment arrived earlier this month from India’s western Kandla Port, after years of political wrangling with Pakistan, government officials in New Delhi and Kabul said. The wheat will be trucked from Chabahar to western Afghanistan.
“The shipment of wheat is a landmark moment, as it will pave the way for operationalization of Chabahar Port as an alternate, reliable and robust connectivity for Afghanistan,” read a statement issued by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
The shipments are meant to demonstrate the route’s viability, officials said, and the plan is to broaden the cargo flow before the port becomes fully operational by the end of next year.
An Indian government source said India Global Ports Ltd, a company set up by the government to lead the Chabahar project, had held talks with Iranian authorities to begin interim operations.
In August, IGPL applied for permission to establish a company to run the port, the source said. The plan is for IGPL to build two new terminals, one for container vessels and one for multipurpose ships.
After some delay, IGPL awarded contracts last month for port construction equipment such as cranes, the source said. Iran, meanwhile, had completed the construction of a jetty.
“We are moving slowly, but there is movement on the port development despite US-Iran relations deteriorating,” said Meena Singh Roy, an expert on India-Iran ties at the government-funded Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses.
A trilateral agreement on establishment of the International Transport and Transit Corridor was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Tehran in May 2016.