Sunday, December 10, 2023

Iran’s Chabahar port crucial for landlocked Afghanistan trade

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Afghanistan is a landlocked country, thus it has several commerce-related problems because it must pass Pakistan or Iran to get to water ports, where trade is sped up and costs are increased.

In an opinion piece for media, PhD candidate Mirza Ahmad Ebrahimi analysed Afghanistan’s two options—Chabahar or Karachi seaport. The most sustainable harbour for trade was discovered to be Chabahar in Iran.

The Delaram-Zaranj Highway, a 218 km road in the Nimruz province, was designed and built by the government of India at the request of Afghanistan for USD 175 million. It connects Afghanistan with Iran’s Zabul province to facilitate and speed up the transportation of products.

The Iranian province of Zabul is well connected to the Port of Chabahar by road. According to Ebrahimi, it is one of the busiest roads in Afghanistan and offers a crucial commerce route between Afghanistan, Iran, and the rest of Asia.

The Chabahar road, where 80% of Afghanistan’s freight traffic currently travels, is significantly shorter and more stable than any of the routes in Pakistan, making it possibly the most effective way for Afghan traders to reach the end destination for their commodities.

Additionally, the Chabahar route offers access to two markets with a combined population of 1.4 billion people rather than just one country with 200 million people.

According to media sources, since the port started operating, Afghanistan’s reliance on Pakistan has substantially lessened, and trade with Pakistan dropped from USD 2.5 billion in 2017 to USD 500 million in 2018.

The lifeline Afghanistan needs to revive its trading potential is Chabahar Port, which is found in the Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran. According to Ebrahimi, such trade opportunities reduce expenses and generate more money for economic empowerment and global integration, which contribute to the prosperity and stability of the nation.

Iran and India built a multimodal system, and as a result, the routes between Afghanistan-India and other Central Asian nations offer a 60% decrease in transportation costs and a 50% reduction in shipment time.

The trustworthy commerce and transit options offered by Chabahar have received positive feedback from Afghan businessmen. According to media sources, Iran and India have offered as advantageous a deal as possible to Afghan traders, starting with a 30% discount on customs fees, 50 acres of land for Afghan investment, and free cooling storage facilities.

By 2024, the nominal capacity of the Chabahar port is expected to be 86 million tonnes, and Afghanistan plans to play a significant role in these operations. Increased trade through the Chabahar port is Afghanistan’s best chance for a better future.

In addition, Chabahar offers direct shipping to Gujarat and Mumbai, the two states with the highest market potential for Afghanistan’s agricultural exports. India is the country that buys the majority of these products.

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