EghtesadOnline: Iran has received a request from China to establish a connection between Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which Chinese companies are developing, and Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar.
Abdolrahim Kordi, managing director of Chabahar Free Trade Zone, was quoted as saying that China had informed Iran that it is interested in using Chabahar to transit goods from Gwadar to regional and extra-regional destinations, Pakistan Today reported.
Kordi emphasized that there was no competition between Iran’s Chabahar and Pakistan’s Gwadar, stressing that the two could complement each other in terms of market access potentials.
The official noted that the advantages of Chabahar were better than Gwadar in terms of road and rail connection facilities to key transportation points in regions as far as Central Asia and Europe, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran started a project to develop Chabahar Port in 2007 through an investment that officials previously said already amounted to $1 billion.
President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of Chabahar’s Shahid Beheshti Port in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan on December 3, in the presence of about 70 visiting dignitaries from 17 countries.
“Chabahar will turn into the biggest port of the country in the future and would be of considerable significance both politically and economically. The project is specifically important, as it connects the trade corridors passing through Iran to the ocean,” the president was quoted as saying on the inauguration day.
The annual cargo tonnage of the port has now almost tripled to reach as high as 8.5 million tons.
It can also accommodate 100,000-ton ships, which can help promote the country’s international trade activities.
The overall development project is planned in four phases and is expected to bring the port’s total annual cargo capacity to 82 million tons.
The development of Chabahar is being carried out by India. The country has committed $500 million to the port that lies in the Sea of Oman, aiming to join an increasingly important transport corridor to the resource-rich regional countries.
Massive investment plans are already on the cards, with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering to build a sprawling artery of roads and railroads, which is estimated to cost $15 billion.
When development is complete, Chabahar will link up with the International North-South Transportation Corridor that currently stretches from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf to Russia, Eurasia and Europe.