Hard News: Chabahar Ready to Cooperate with Foreign Investors, Contractors
Officials in charge of the development project of Chabahar Port City say they are all set to expand cooperation with foreign investors and contractors.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Press Exhibition in Tehran on Wednesday, Hard News Chief Editor Sanjay Kapoor said the officials and the governor broke the news to him during a visit to the port city on Monday.
According to the Indian reporter, Governor Ahmad Mouhebati said the port city has the potential to act as a bridge to expand cooperation and link the regional states. “It is important for Iran, India and Afghanistan to sign a cooperation deal to this end.”
He added, “Sanctions delayed the development project of the port, including construction of a railway system and the main highway. That explains why the city has been unable to meet India’s demands to act as a bridge to reach Afghanistan and Central Asia.”
He went on to state that the development project of Shahid Beheshti Port is also well underway and in three different shifts, of which Phase 1 will come on stream within the next two months.
He noted that contractors are also busy constructing the railway link between Iranshahr and Zahedan in two separate shifts. “They are using over 1,000 light and heavy machinery equipment to complete the transportation project."
The governor of Chabahar maintained that Indian investors could take part in national railway projects, adding that the railway project to link Zahedan to Mashhad stretches 750 kilometres and is key to completing the national railway system. “Study projects have been completed and it will begin once budget is allocated.”
Abdol Rahim Kurdi, a board member and managing director of Chabahar Free Trade Zone, also told the Indian reporter that Chabahar is the best possible candidate to link Europe to Africa and East Asia.
He regretted that there has been a three-year delay and it was all because of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani that the national project got off the ground again.
According to the regional official, a quick comparison between the last 20 years of statistics will reveal that prior to 2013 there were some 1,800 registered companies in Chabahar. “But that figure increased to 2640 companies between 2013-16, which shows a 60 percent increase..”
The managing director of Chabahar Free Trade Zone also said similar statistics on foreign direct investment reveal that in the last 20 years to 2013 some 6.3 billion dollars in foreign investment were absorbed, which has now reached around 8.3 billion dollars.
Mohammad Amiri, managing director of Customs and Transit at Chabahar Free Trade Zone, also said during the meeting that Shahid Beheshti Port can handle goods in transit to the tune of 86 million tons a year, adding that over the past year alone some 100 trade and business delegates have visited the regional transit hub.
He maintained that Chabahar Port city is ready to cooperate with Indian companies in infrastructural and executive projects in the form of direct investment or rendition of services.
At the end of the meeting, Sanjay Kapoor, the chief editor of Hard News Magazine, said Chabahar has what it takes to absorb investments from Indian individuals and companies.
He concluded by saying that “India needs to see the end results of its investments in Afghanistan. Chabahar Port City could act as an important bridge to link India not just to Afghanistan but also to Central Asia.”