Merchants and businesspeople who use Shahid Beheshti area of the port of Chabahar will enjoy a 30-percent discount in their customs duties, Iran’s deputy Commerce Minister Hossein Modarress Khiabani said, adding that Tehran is determined to encourage port operations in the Southeastern port.
Khiabani said on Thursday that the government was doing follow-ups on a promise to grant a 30-percent discount on customs duties for cargoes unloaded at Shahid Beheshti area of the port of Chabahar.
He added that the government had also made it mandatory for two major state-run companies to unload and transport their import cargoes via the facilities at Shahid Beheshti area rather than their traditional destination at Imam Khomeini Port in southwest Iran.
The measures come amid reports that Iran has expedited efforts to increase activity in Chabahar after India, a major partner for the development of the port city, said it was unhappy with the slow progress made to turn the port into a major shipping and trade hub in the region.
Last Thursday, Managing Director of Russia’s Astrakhan Special Economic Zone Miloshkin Sergei said that port of Chabahr is very important for Russia, and President Vladimir Putin believes that the port can ease transportation of goods to the Gulf of Oman, other countries and the Indian subcontinent.
The strategic role of the port of Chabahar in connecting the ports located by the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of Oman has convinced Russian officials specially President Putin to use it as a route to transit goods to other countries and the Indian subcontinent in particular, Sergei said while inspecting the strategic port which is located in the Southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan.
Last month, Aqayee announced that Foreign entities have shown interest in investing in Chabahar port, and 11 investment agreements have been signed to be implemented by the end of this Persian year.
"The number of those who are interested in investment in Chabahar Port has been on the rise, and it is expected that business people and traders benefit from the advantages of the port such as the capacity of loading and unloading at the port," he added.
Afghanistan procures 95 percent of its supplies through imports, and therefore, the port will be the least expensive route for transferring goods, he said.
Various projects, including the second phase of development of Shahid Beheshti port, oil and petrochemical terminals, durable goods warehouse, open warehouse, terminal hall, passenger wharf, shipyard to build and offer maintenance services for ships, and petrochemical downstream industries are among the major investment opportunities in Chabahar.
Early in last month, Indian Ambassador to Tehran Gaddam Dharmendra said that Iran’s Southeastern port city of Chabahar is of prime importance to New Delhi, adding that the two countries increased their trade in the last year by 30%.
In a meeting with Chabahar executives and officials on July 06, Dharmendra said that Chabahar is of great importance for New Delhi, given the strategic location and connection to the Indian Ocean, and the Indian government and private sector are keen to attend and invest in this zone.
"The trade between Iran and India have grown well over past years, and thus the ports of India and Chabahar will have better cooperation in the future," the envoy added.
Referring to the capacities, investment opportunities and transportation of transit goods in the Chabahar port, the diplomat said, "This city is significant more than a target for the Indian government in relation to the issues that it is pursuing."
The Indian Ambassador noted that there needs to be a clear dialogue about the commitments in regard to Chabahar, and said, "We need to consider the short and long term credit line in the form of a single package."
Darmandera underscored that Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) can cooperate in this port and transport their goods with the best way of transportation.
Expressing that India and Afghanistan repeatedly pursued the exclusion of the Chabahar port from the unilaterally imposed US sanctions regime, but still the banks issue poses a challenge, he pointed out that during the past year, Iran and India's trade grew by 30 percent and reached about 17 billion dollars a year.
The high-ranking Indian figure described India as one of the main suppliers of basic goods to Iran, and added, "We created a special bank in India connected with the Iran-India Chamber of Commerce to carry out a commodity exchange."
"Given the growth that exists in our business, Indian ports and Chabahar port are important ports, and we certainly do what we are committed to,” the Ambassador of India in Iran emphasized. ■