Gwadar may lose business to Iranian port of Chabahar – Part 2

Oleh: saksher
May 12, 2009

The Chabahar Port and Chabahar Region
Ch?bah?r (Persian: ??????), previously also Bandar Beheshti, is an Iranian city and a free port (Free Trade Zone) on the coast of the Gulf of Oman.

Chabahar is situated on the Makran Coast of the Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran and is officially designated as a Free Trade and Industrial Zone by Iran’s government. Due to its free trade zone status, the city has increased in significance in international trade. The overwhelming majority of the city’s inhabitants are ethnic Baluchis speaking the Balochi language.

Economic significance
Chabahar is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean. For this reason, Chabahar is the focal point of Iran for development of the east of the country through expansion and enhancement of transit routes among countries situated in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia. The hope is that with the development of transit routes, and better security and transit services, the benefits will reach the area residents.

Chabahar’s economic sectors are fishery industries and commercial sector, fishery sectors with largest amount of country’s fish catch, mainly located out of the Chabahar Free Trade-Industrial Zone. Growing commercial sector located at free trade area with high potentiality to turn to a place that would connect business growth centers in south Asia (India) and Middle East (Dubai) to central Asian and Afghanistan market. Government plan to link Chabahar free trade area to Iran’s main rail network which is connected to central Asia and Afghanistan would provide more capability for Chabahar to foster faster logistics sector that is a basic to achieve better position comparing to its competitor (Pakistani port of Gwadar)

Chabahar Port a symbol of the new Iran-India strategic alliance
India is helping develop the Chabahar port and that would give it access to the oil and gas resources in Iran and the Central Asian states, in this it is competing with the Chinese which is building the Gwadar port, in Pakistani Baluchistan.

Iran plans to use Chabahar for transhipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia while reserving the port of Bandar Abbas as a major hub mainly for trade with Russia and Europe.

India, Iran and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to give Indian goods, heading for Central Asia and Afghanistan, preferential treatment and tariff reductions at Chabahar.

Work on the Chabahar-Melak-Zaranj-Dilaram route from Iran to Afghanistan is in progress. Iran is with Indian aid upgrading the Chabahar-Melak road and constructing a bridge on the route to Zaranj. India’s BRO is laying the 213-kilometer Zaranj-Dilaram road. It is a part of its USD 750 million aid package to Afghanistan.

The advantages that Chabahar has compared to Gwadar are the greater political stability and security of the Iranian hinterland and the hositlity and mistrust that the Pakistani Baluchis hold against the Punjabi dominated Pakistani Federal government. The Baluchis consider Sino-Pak initiative at Gwadar as a strategy from Islamabad to deny the province its deserved share of development pie. They also look with suspicion on the settlement of more and more non-Baluchis in the port area.

The Chabahar port project is Iran’s chance to end its US sponsored economic isolation and benefit form the resurgent Indian economy. Along with Bandar Abbas, Chabahar is the Iranian entrepot on the North – South corridor. A strategic partnership between India, Iran and Russia to establish a multi-modal transport link connecting Mumbai with St. Petersburg. Providing Europe and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia access to Asia and vice-versa.

NOTE: The resource taken from wikipedia.

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