India says it expects to complete the first phase of the construction of Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar in 2018.
"We can complete the work on the first phase of the project in 2018… The funds are likely to be released shortly. Tenders are out for the project,” India’s Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari was quoted as saying by the media.
"Tenders are out for the project,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari added that Kandla Port had floated tenders inviting global bids for supply and commissioning of terminal tractor trailers, forklifts, reach stackers, empty container handlers and yard cranes among other equipment at Chabahar Port.
For greater trade and investment flow with Iran and neighboring countries, the Indian cabinet last year had cleared proposals for development of Chabahar port including through a $150 million credit from Exim Bank, reported the New Delhi-based The Indian Express.
The cabinet also authorized the Shipping Ministry to form a company in Iran for implementing the Chabahar Port Development Project and related activities, the daily added.
Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast, the port is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan.
As per a basic agreement signed between Iran and India last May, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with a capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a ten year lease.
Ownership of equipment will be transferred to Iranian side on completion of 10-year period or for an extended period, based on the agreement between the two countries. The Iranian side had requested for provision of a credit of $150 million in accordance with the agreement, reported The Indian Express.
As per the agreement, the operation of two berths is to commence within a period of maximum 18 months after the signing of the contract.
Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, for which India will invest $500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor has also been signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran, the daily concluded.