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India’s terminal at Chabhar port faces fund constraints

The terminal constructed by India in the Iranian port of Chabahar faces fund constraints since the Union budget presented to Lok sabha has allotted a sum of Rs One hundred Crores while the Indian company running the terminal has floated tenders worth Rs Eight hundred crores for buying and erecting handling equipment at the Port

The modest budget for Chabahar port is seen by those tracking the project as an indication that these much-delayed equipment tenders are unlikely to be finalised soon, further delaying the start of full-fledged operations at the port that was given to India on a government-to-government (GoG) basis.

India Ports Global, the state-owned entity formed to develop and run the Chabahar port, issued a tender on 26 September last year, the third since 2017, to buy four new post Panamax size ship-to-shore or so-called rail mounted quay cranes (RMQCs) of 65-ton capacity each

The timeline for submitting offers on these tenders have been repeatedly extended by India Ports Global as bidders are unwilling to place quotations in the face of sanctions imposed by the west on the Persian Gulf nation over its nuclear programme.

The equipment is part of the agreement signed with Iran to develop Chabahar port. The Indian company has installed six mobile harbor cranes that can load or unload 18 containers per hour

The project is considered a strategic venture for the development of regional maritime transit traffic into Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Chabahar is also being built as a gateway to the East and West of the Caspian Sea as part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The Corridor is a 7,200-km-long multi-modal network of sea, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe. The project has been bogged down by delays due to the US sanctions on Iran.

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