CHABAHAR – Amid the imposition of the tightening US sanctions, Iran has been looking to its port in the Southeast region in order to ensure the flow of goods. The only Iranian port, Chabahar port is free from US sanctions which were reimposed by the US in 2018. Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar has located about 100 Km from the Pakistan border on the Indian ocean and it is the largest port of Iran outside the Gulf region. With the help of the Chabahar port, Afghanistan would not have to depend on Pakistan to trade with India as well as the other countries of the world.
In a development conference, Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami said that the reason behind the development of rail network, airport network, and roads network is to implement the North-South Corridor in order to facilitate trade through rail route between Central Asia and the Indian Ocean. To accomplish this, an investment of one-billion dollars has already been made. Until now, 200 hectares of sea land has already been reclaimed for this project but the business has not yet picked up impressively. According to officials, the annual cargo capacity of the port is 8.5 million tonnes but the ships have only loaded and unloaded 2.1 million tonnes of cargo in the past year. However, the officials have expressed strong prospects for growth in the coming time.
Indian firm which started its operations on the port in December has only managed to handle about 60,000 tonnes of cargo per month. The managing director of India Ports Limited, Arun Kumar Gupta said that every port takes time to get business and similar is the case with Chabahar port. Due to Chabahar’s critical location in the volatile Sistan Baluchistan province where militant jihadists operate there are security concerns associated with Chabahar port. Also, due to US sanctions on Iran for financial transactions, it is difficult to make payments.