India to begin full-scale operations at Chabahar Port by May-end

2021-04-05 16:20:00 International Ports News

India will begin full-scale operations, by the end of May, in its first foreign port venture at Iran’s Chabahar Port, a facility that opens on the Gulf of Oman. This will help New Delhi aim to facilitate more South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East trade while bypassing Pakistan.

New Delhi has doubled down and accelerated the project

But the US sanctions on Tehran had slowed down the development of the port and now with the new US administration’s attitude toward Iran, Indian officials are hopeful to move forward with the $500 million of investment. As such, New Delhi has doubled down and accelerated the project, banking like others on a new breakthrough on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and a broader US-Iran warming trend, highlights AsiaTimes.

India developing two terminals at the port

India, according to Iranian media reports, is developing two terminals at the port including the Shahid Beheshti complex and under an agreement signed with Iran, it would run the terminal for 10 years.

Mansukh Mandaviya, Indian Minister of State for Ports and Shipping, told Reuters that he would be visiting Iran in April or May for the inauguration of full operations. He said the port had already commenced operations in a limited way and the growth potential was evident.

“Chabahar port handled 123 vessels and 1.8 million tonnes of bulk and general cargoes from February 2019 to January 2021. This is much higher than our expectations. Imagine the scale of operations and freight saving once it is fully operational,” the minister said.

With this, New Delhi intends to ultimately link Chahabar to its International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a project initially proposed by India, Russia and Iran in 2000 and later joined by 10 other Central Asian nations. Analysts say that some see INSTC as a less-monied rival to China’s BRI, which has invested heavily in Pakistan’s road, power and trade infrastructure, including huge multi-billion dollar investments at Gwador port.

Multimode network INSTC connecting Mumbai with Europe via Moscow and Central Asia

The INSTC, as per reports, envisions a 7,200 kilometer-long, multimode network comprising of shipping, rail and road links connecting Mumbai with Europe via Moscow and Central Asia. It could cut current carriage costs by about 30% and travel times by half.

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