India delivers second batch of heavy equipment to Chabahar port
India has delivered the second consignment of heavy equipment, including two 100-tonne mobile cranes, to Iran’s Chabahar port, reflecting New Delhi’s commitment to the strategic connectivity and transit initiative.
The cranes and other loading equipment reached the port on the Gulf of Oman on Sunday, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity. India had delivered the first consignment of heavy equipment, including two 140-tonne mobile harbour cranes, in January.
“Continuing with our commitment to develop Chabahar Port, second shipment of equipment reaches Shahid Behesti Terminal,” minister of state for ports and shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet.
The new loading equipment is worth $7.5 million, said Behrouz Aghaei, director general of the ports and maritime department of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. This is part of the Indian side’s commitment to make a total investment of $85 million in the Iranian port under a long-term contract, he added.
Farhad Montaser Kouhsari, the deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, recently told the Iranian media that the new cranes supplied by the Indian side will help increase the annual loading and unloading rate at Chabahar to 20 million tonnes.
More heavy equipment from the Indian side is expected in the coming months, Kouhsari said.
Afghanistan, Iran and India signed a tripartite agreement on developing Chabahar port and setting up a trilateral transport and transit corridor in 2016. India then set up India Ports Global Limited to operate the Shahid Behesti terminal at Chabahar.
The mobile harbour cranes provided in January are part of a contract for six such cranes, worth more than $25 million, with the Italian firm Italgru S.r.l. Last year, India cancelled a $30-million contract with Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries for heavy cranes because of delays by the Chinese company in supplying the equipment ordered in 2017.
India recently proposed that Chabahar port be included in the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a 7,200-km multi-mode route spanning 13 countries.
Despite Chabahar port being granted a waiver from US sanctions on Iran, India has faced problems in acquiring heavy equipment from foreign countries, mainly because of the reluctance of foreign banks to open letters of credit (LoCs) for a project within Iran.
Since India Ports Global Limited began operations in December 2018, the port has handled 123 vessels, 13,752 containers and 1.8 million tonnes of cargo. There has been an increase in average monthly calls by merchant vessels, and 110,000 tonnes of wheat and 2,000 tonnes of pulses have been shipped to Afghanistan via Chabahar.