TEHRAN, Iran, Jan.23
Iranian parliament approval of accession of Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari ports to Chabahar Free zone can develop the zone, MP Abolfazl Abutorabi told Trend.
"Free zones development plan has not been implemented yet; however, due to close distance of the Chabahar Free Zone to the Oman Sea, the zone should be separated from other regions," Abutorabi added.
"The connection of Chabahr Free Zone to Afghanistan via railway by the end of current Iranian year (began March 21, 2019) will create opportunity to trade with a country with population of 30 million," the MP said. " It will be the most important corridor in the port for transit goods to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is geographically located in land lock and therefore, Chabahar port can be also a gate to import goods."
"The Chabahar port's closeness to the Oman Sea will eliminate the need to transfer goods through Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf," the MP said.
"Thepotential of development of Chabahar free zone can attract foreign investors. In addition to India, China has also inclined to invest in the port. Tourism and goods transit alongside oil and gas pipeline are the peculiarities that increase the importance of Chabahar free zone. Hopefully, the approval of the bill by the parliament will create opportunities to use the capacities of the free zone," he said.
Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul signed a trilateral agreement to develop Chabahar in Tehran in May 2016. The deal stipulates the development and operation of two terminals and three berths at the port with cargo handling capacities for 10 years.
India has also agreed to build a 500-km railroad from Chabahar to Zahedan, close to the Afghan border. India’s state-owned IRCON has agreed to build a rail route at a cost of $1.6 billion as part of the transit corridor to Afghanistan.