Chabahar Port Expected to Commence Operations by 2018. In a recently concluded meeting between Nitin Gadkari – Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping and Dr. Hassan Rouhani – President of Islamic Republic of Iran, the possibility of Chabahar Port commencing operations by 2018 was expressed.
Chabahar Port Expected to Commence Operations by 2018. As per an MoU signed between India and Iran in May last year, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-yearlease.
In totality the Indian Government has allocated INR 6 billion for the development of the port and civil construction at Chabahar port has already begun. Currently tenders worth INR 380 crores for equipment have been finalized. Authorities in India are expecting that the Iranian Government would soon accord necessary approvals for expediting the work.
Gadkari was representing India in the swearing in ceremony of the second term of President Rouhani. During his discussion with the Iranian President, Gadkari touched upon wide ranging topics including India’s cooperation in the development of Chabahar Port and the proposed rail link between Chabahar & Zahedan.
During his visit, Gadkari also called up on the first Vice President Dr. E. Jahangiri and highlighted the issue of activation of contract of Chabahar Port development and conveyed to him that India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) has finalized procurement of critical equipments such as Rail Mounted Gantry Crane (RMGC), and is close to finalizing orders relating to Rubber Tyre Mobile Crane (RTMC), MT Container Handlers (MTCH), Truck and Tractor Trailers Containers and related equipments. He also conveyed India’s readiness to aid Iran in taking up operations in Chabahar Port during the interim period between the actual activation of contract. He requested the Iranian side for an early submission of loan application for Chabahar Port Development to EXIM Bank of India so that the contract agreement between the two countries can be activated. Iran had requested India to provide up to 150 million dollar credit and had made it a condition for activation of the Chabahar Port contract. The application for loan to EXIM Bank of India is still awaited.
Gadkari later met Dr. Abbas Akhoundi, the Iranian Minister for Roads and Urban Development to convey the latest update on procurement of equipment for the two terminals – multipurpose and container covered under Chabahar Port Agreement. He also requested Dr Akhoundi that in the interest of supporting operations of Chabahar Port, the Iranian side should consider waiving off the condition of submission of loan application as it was taking time. The Iranian side assured that the application shall be presented to EXIM Bank of India early. Gadkari also stressed upon the need for marketing of the Chabahar Port to attract cargo. He expressed that Iran and India should jointly organize a workshop at Chabahar for this purpose at an early date. Gadkari also emphasized the need to develop rail connectivity from Chabahar to Zahedan, and said that the MoU with India in this regard may be extended. The issue of ratification of the trilateral Transit Agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan was also discussed between the two ministers. While India and Afghanistan have the agreement, Iran is yet to do the same.
The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act (FIPPA) application was also presented by the MD, IPGL to the Iranian authorities in the presence of Shri Gadkari and Dr Akhoundi. India has opened an office of IPGL in Teheran.
Iran’s Chabahar port located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on the south-eastern coast is a port of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is accessed from India’s western coast. The Port is expected to boost the trade business between both countries.