Economy, Domestic Economy

Chabahr Port Attracts Int’l Attention

Chabahr Port Attracts Int’l AttentionChabahr Port Attracts Int’l Attention

The southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan appears to have seriously caught the eye of foreign investors. After India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this month to invest on development of Chabahar Port, Japanese and European investors have followed suit, expressing willingness to participate in development projects in the province.

Visiting Sistan and Baluchestan Province and Chabahar Port on Sunday, Japan’s Ambassador to Iran, Koji Haneda, expressed Japan’s interest in investing in the province.

Haneda, who was heading a 12-member delegation of Japanese investors and business-owners, said the trip was aimed at assessing the potential for business activities in the province, IRNA reported.

He highlighted the important role of Chabahar and other southern ports of Iran as global energy trade hubs and said Sistan and Baluchestan is safe for the Japanese investors as well as tourists.

As part of their two-day visit to the province, the Japanese delegation inspected some industrial plants including a major petrochemical plant and a ship yard. They also visited Chabahar Port’s development projects, including Shahid Rajaei and Shahid Kalantari waterfronts.

The port of Chabahar, strategically located on the border of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman, is the only Iranian port with direct access to open waters.

 Indian Development Project

Chabahar Port, located 72 kilometers west of Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, holds immense strategic and economic significance for India. It would cut transport costs and freight time for India to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf by about a third.

Earlier on May 6, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between India’s Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, and Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbas Akhoundi, during Gadkari’s visit to Iran to invest on development of Chabahar.

As per the MoU, India pledged to invest $85 million to convert two berths in the port into a container terminal and a multi-purpose cargo terminal.

Gadkari on Sunday anticipated that the port becomes operational by December next year, noting that a joint venture has been formed by Kandla Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust to work on the project, Times of India reported.

Chabahar will provide India access to Afghanistan’s four major cities, namely Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, using the Iranian road network and the Zaranj-Delaram road, constructed by India in 2009, said the minister.

 Europeans Keen to Invest

In another relevant remark, managing director of Chabahar Trade-Industrial Free Zone, Ali Mobaraki said on Sunday European investors have shown enthusiasm to invest in Chabahar Free Trade Zone to gain access to the Persian Gulf, Central Asian and Eastern Asian countries.  

The official, who was returning from an official visit to Germany to attend Germany’s ‘Entrepreneurship and Investment’ conference, said apart from the Germans, investors from other European countries have also expressed the desire to invest in Iran’s free trade zones, particularly in Chabahar.

According to the official, an MoU was signed between Chabahar Free Trade Zone and Iran-Germany Chamber of Commerce with focus on developing entrepreneurship between Iran and Germany, boosting economic, technical and academic cooperation, encouraging regular trade and investment, organizing trade fairs and exhibitions and facilitating exchange of trade delegations.