TEHRAN – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated on Sunday the first phase of an extension to Chabahar Port, which is expected to boost trade in the region due to its strategic location as the country’s sole ocean port on the Gulf of Oman.
The port is located in the southeastern city of Chabahar and is to serve as a commercial hub for trade between India, Afghanistan and many of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia.
“The Port of Chabahar, as the only oceanic port of Iran, has to link Sistan-Baluchestan Province to Central Asia and Afghanistan,” the state-run news agency IRNA cited Rouhani as saying.
“We are happy that the first wheat shipment for Afghanistan has been sent to the country’s people via Chabahar Port,” he added.
India has been one of the most interested countries in developing the port, as it signed a contract to invest $85 million in the project.
The port is also regarded as a big step towards developing the 7,200-kilometer (4474-mile) North-South Transport Corridor, which aims to carry merchandise from India to Europe through Central Asia.
The first phase of the Chabahar Port project, Shahid Beheshti Port, includes five docks, two of which are capable of handling cargo ships with up to 100,000-ton capacity.
The port’s loading and unloading capacity is 8.5 million tons per year. It is expected to increase to 80 million when all five phases are completed by 2024.