India determined to invest in Iranian port development projec

Chabahar, Hormuzgan Prov., June 20, IRNA – India is strongly determined to contribute to Iranian Chabahar Port development project as is evident from the visits of the directors of Indian ports to Chabahar port of Iran over recent days and months.

The Indian business officials have been to the port to find mechanism for implementation of an investment agreement in the port and also India's contribution to development of Shahid Beheshti Port.
Over the past decade, Indian government officials and business sector envoys have visite Chabahar. India has stepped up efforts to be present in the strategic point in order not to lag behind other rivals in the post-sanctions era.
Shri N Muruganandam, Joint Secretary of Ports Organization of India, heading an Indian team visited the port city to find ways of implementing a contract signed by Iranian Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Indian Transport and Shipping Ministry in May.
Shri Ravi Parmar, Chairman of Kandla Port, Traffic Manager at Mormugao Port, Goa, and Director of Indian Ports Association (IPA) as well as envoys of several private companies and an envoy from Indian Embassy in Tehran accompanied the Indian economic delegation in the visit to the strategic Chabahar port which will give sea and land access to Afghanistan.
The Indians are now managers of a port, with the capacity of handling 300 million tons of cargoes. So, this indicates their qualification for development of Iran's 89-million-ton Chabahar Port.
In an interview in the course of his visit to Chabahar Port, Shri N Muruganandam, Joint Secretary of Ports Organization of India, highlighted the significance of the port and said the port is of strategic importance for India, so the country highly insists on its development.
Among topics under discussion between the Indian delegation and Iranian officials were amount of tariffs, ways of linking Chabahar Free Trade Zone and Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari Ports, establishment of a company in Chabahar Free Trade Zone, emloyment of necessary workforce and manpower training for port operating purposes and the timetable for completion of the first phase of the project for Shahid Beheshti Port's development.
Public Relations Department of Sistan-Balouchestan Province Ports and Navigation Office quoted Director General of the Office, Siavash Rezvani, as telling the Indian delegation that engineering works on construction of electricity network will be completed by mid 2017.
He said last year 2,100,000 tons of cargoes including soya,wheat and minerals were discharged in Chabahar port.
He added that once the phase one of the project is completed, Chabahar Port's cargo handling capacity will rise to eight million tons from present 2.5 million tons.
He hoped that based on a memorandum of understanding, necessary equipment and items envisioned in the agreement, will be purchased soon.
Meanwhile, Shri Ravi Parmar, Chairman of Kandla Port, said India and other Indian private sector parties are committed to implement the agreement reached with Iran.
Parmar said Kandla Port is the biggest Indian port, running with a capacity of 95 million tons cargoes. 60 million tons of cargoes are liquids and the remaining 35 million tons are goods in general, including woods, beans, coals and factory equipment.
According to the official, India has over the past seven years managed to raise the capacity of Jawaharlal Nehru Port, also known as Nhava Sheva, to five million tons, thus making it the first container port of India.
India intends to lease two berths at Chabahar for 10 years.
Access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway can be made from Chahbahar port using the existing Iranian road network and the Zaranj-Delaram road, constructed by India in 2009.
This would provide road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.
The port will be also used for shipping crude oil and urea, thus saving India transportation costs. It would cut transport costs and freight time from India to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf by about a third.
Earlier on May 6, an MoU was signed by Gadkari and Iran’s Minister for Transport and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi after comprehensive talks between Gadkari and Iranian officials during his visit to the country.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in his meeting with Gadkari, had said: “Resumption of Iran-India cooperation in the southeastern Iranian port city of Chabahar would lead to a new chapter in relations of two countries.” The US has been asking India and other countries not to “rush” into doing business with Iran as Washington was yet to work out a deal with Tehran on the latter’s nuclear program.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also assured Afghan President Ashraf Ghani of India’s commitment to building the port.
Earlier in 2003, the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee had signed an agreement with Iran for the Chabahar Port development but it could not be materialized.