Breaking: Iran, China partnership to raise Chabahar port’s global status
TEHRAN – As Iran’s only oceanic port on the Gulf of Oman, Chabahar port holds great significance for the country both politically and economically. The country has taken serious measures for developing this port in order to improve the country’s maritime trade.
In this regard, the Islamic Republic has been welcoming investors from all over the world to take part in the development of this port and benefit from its distinguished position as a trade hub in the region.
The recent agreement between Iran and China has increased the chances of this giant economy participating in the development of this port and to further contribute to the improvement of its global status.
This issue intrigued the Tehran Times to conduct an interview with Behrouz Aghaei, the director-general of Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran (where Chabahar lies). What follows is the gist of the interview with the official.
According to Aghaei, China’s contribution to the development of Chabahar port would be a great opportunity for this port to further establish itself as a trade hub in the region since China is currently one of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of maritime and port industries.
“Three of the world’s top shipping companies and operators are Chinese companies, for instance, COSCO is currently the world’s fourth-biggest shipping line which is operating at 45 ports worldwide,” Aghaei said.
“China’s entrance into Chabahar port could lead to significant growth in this port because shipping lines and operators are key issues in port development,” he explained.
“The activity of Chinese shipping lines in Chabahar port could increase the port’s trade exchanges with the world to a very significant level.”
According to the official, China is currently having maritime trade exchanges with over 162 countries worldwide and the activity of Chinese renowned shipping lines in Chabahar port would mean linking of the port to more than 45 ports and over 162 countries.
Aghaei further mentioned China’s great development in terms of container ports, saying: “Six of the world’s top 10 container ports are in China which means about 60 percent of the world’s container operations are taking place in this Asian country.”
Research shows that the Chinese ports are going to register the world’s largest growth in terms of container trade by 2024, he said.
Asked about the possible impacts of the Chinese investment in the port on the Islamic Republic’s current cooperation with India, the official said: “The first and most important issue that the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) has taken into account when considering investment offers by foreign trade partners, is the port’s economic independence.”
“India currently works with us as an operator in this port and the country does not have an exclusive right over any part of this port,” he explained.
“We have always welcomed other countries to come and participate in the development of this port beside India.”
Not only China, but any other country that is willing to invest in Chabahar is welcomed by Iran provided that the economic independence of the port and the interests of the Islamic Republic are ensured, the official stressed.
“We have called Chabahar port the “Gate of Nations” and that is an indication of our view about this port’s future; Chabahar is going to be one of the top trade hubs in the region, linking the West Asian nations to CIS countries.”
“Our priority is to cooperate with those countries which are able to be more beneficial for the country’s trade and economy,” Aghaei emphasized.