India takes over operations of part of Chabahar Port in Iran
08 January 2019
India formally took over operations of a part of the Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar, in Iran, during the Chabahar Trilateral Agreement meeting held on 24 December 2018 and commercial operations began with the docking of a Cyprus registered bulk carrier at Chabahar with 72,458 tonnes of corn cargo at the terminal.
The heads of Indian, Iranian and Afghanistan delegation jointly inaugurated the office of the Indian SPV, India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ), at Chabahar. The physical take-over of the terminal area, cargo handling equipment and office building was completed by 29 December 2018.
The vessel MV Macheras berthed at the terminal at 0130 hrs on 30 December 2018 and discharged imported cargo from Brazil using pneumatic un-loaders, formalising the first cargo operation at IPGCFZ.
India’s engagement in Chabahar marks the beginning of a major push towards regional cooperation, enabling joint efforts to support land locked Afghanistan. This is the first time India will be operating a port outside its territory.
India started interacting with Iran on Chabahar Port around 2003 but it took until May 2015 to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of Chabahar Port. The MoU translated into a formal 10-year contract for equipping and operating the Chabahar Port, which was executed on 23 May 2016, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran .
During the visit of President of Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani to New Delhi in February 2018, the foundation of an interim period contract was laid and a formal short term contract between the two sides was signed on 6 May 2018.
Meanwhile, India also completed construction of the Sittwe Port in Myanmar and the port is ready for operation, minister of state for shipping, road transport and chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh L Mandaviya informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Monday.
He said the construction of Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project. Its objective is to create a multi-modal sea, river and road transport corridor for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar through Sittwe port as well as to North-Eastern parts of India via Myanmar. Once fully operational, the project would encourage investment and trade and also open up alternate routes for connectivity to India’s North East Region.
The approved construction cost of Sittwe Port and Inland Water Terminals at Sittwe and Paletwa is Rs517.29 crore.
India and Myanmar signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 22 October 2018 for operationalisation of the port at Sittwe and inland water transport (IWT) terminals at Sittwe and Paletwa.