NEW DELHI: Indian-managed operations at Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar in Iran will commence by September 2018 according to Senior Government officials.
At present, Indian Ports Global Private Ltd (IPGPL), a 60:40 joint venture between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Deendayal Port Trust (formerly Kandla Port Trust), is in the process to procure machinery and install it at the port. India has to equip and operate two berths in the Phase I with a capital investment of $85.21 million and an annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
"We plan to start marketing the port from January first week. The first event will be in Delhi, followed by other cities of Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan," Arun Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, IPGPL, said recently. The port inaugurated last month isn't fully complete.
Work on container and multi-purpose terminals as part of the first phase is still underway and is expected to be completed by September, 2018.
“Chabahar's first phase will be ready only in September 2018, which is just less than a year to go," said a Ministry of Shipping official.
"Trade is already underway between India and Chabahar," said another official.
IPGPL is likely to get cargo and container handling equipment installed at the Iranian port just before September 2018. "Once these machinery gets installed and we start operating, it will take just two days to touch Chabahar from India's Western Coast as against 7-8 days via Dubai's Jebel Ali Port to Karachi, and then to Iran. There's a lot of wastage of time, money and resources due to this longer route that has been happening," a source said.
India doesn't have to guarantee any cargo during the first two years of operations. But from the third year, India will guarantee 30,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) of containers, which will go up to 2,50,000 TEUs by the tenth year. As per statistics from the port, even before the formal launch, about 9,972 TEUs were handled during the first quarter of 2017-18 (April-June), which fell to 8,172 TEUs in the subsequent quarter.