Chabahar sees increase in traffic as Taliban backs trade via port
NEW DELHI : The port of Chabahar in Iran, developed by India, seems to be resuming normal operations after assurances from the Taliban that they want better diplomatic and trade relations with India and continue to support the port’s role in facilitating regional and global trade. . After operations were initially hampered by the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan, the port is now seeing an increase in traffic with the rise of Russia and India as key contributors to the growth of this transit trade.
Developed by India to enhance regional connectivity, the port is seen by Central Asian countries as a more “ economic, stable and safe route ‘for access to India and the world market, bypassing Pakistan.
Despite the instability in Afghanistan, traffic is on the rise in Chabahar, official sources said. Operations were affected by the Taliban occupation of Kabul on 15 August, work resumed on 2 September, and since then the Shaheed Beheshti Terminal has been reportedly handling cargo from Russia, Qatar, Romania and Australia. Cargo includes food products such as barley, wheat and corn.
After the increase in traffic, Sher Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban’s political office, assured in late August that the Taliban wanted good trade and diplomatic relations with India and appealed to traders to use the port.
Russia has sent six shipments to Chabahar since September this year, including 5.3 million tonnes of wheat.
In the last two months, the port has also facilitated exports to UAE, Kuwait and Bangladesh for the first time. The Government of India sees this as a significant achievement. According to the latest official data, the port handles shipments and transhipments from Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, Ukraine, Qatar, Australia, Kuwait, Romania, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates. Wheat, corn, barley, corn, sugar and most of the cattle are handled.
India had earlier proposed to include the port in the International North-South Transport Corridor linking Mumbai with Moscow.
Last year, the port facilitated the transhipment of dried fruits from Afghanistan ,Port of Tianjin, aquatic products of China and Iran in Thailand. Indian authorities have in the past described the consignments as important milestones in facilitating trade between Central Asian countries and Afghanistan with countries in South and Southeast Asia and the Far East through the establishment of “container transport services”.
Iran has also reportedly agreed “in principle” to allow Afghan traders the Dogarun-Chabahar route, which was closed after the Taliban took over, exports fresh and dried fruits to India.
In the first week of October 2021, Iran’s Tasnim News reported that Tehran had agreed to evaluate the Taliban’s offer to export fresh and dried fruits to India via Afghanistan’s commercial cargo transport and Chabahar route. It reported that Iran and the Taliban have agreed to maintain round-the-clock operations at the Kala-Dogarun border crossing and to take practical steps to improve and develop land routes at the border crossing.