The port will provide India connectivity to enhance trade with land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia
Decks have been cleared for India to start operating the Chabahar port in Iran by the end of November after the US granted exemptions to the port from the sanctions it had imposed on the Persian Gulf nation from Sunday.
“We are targeting to start operations at Chabahar by the end of the month,” a Shipping Ministry official said, ending months of uncertainty over the fate of the India-funded project.
The waiver has also re-opened the possibility of paying Iran in Euros, said the official, who declined to be named.
India has picked Bandar Abbas-based Kaveh Port and Marine Services company to run the port on a temporary arrangement for 18 months till a full-time manage, operate and maintain (MOM) contractor is finalised by India Ports Global Pvt Ltd, the Indian state-owned entity that is implementing the project.
The start of commercial operations at Chabahar has been delayed because of difficulties in paying Kaveh Port and Marine for the services due to banking issues on transfer of funds.
“To overcome this hurdle, Iran had agreed to accept payment in rupees. But, with this changed scenario, whether they will insist on taking payment in Euros, we’ll have to see and discuss that with Iran and sort it out. Making payment in Euros should not be a problem now since Chabahar has been exempted from the sanctions; so banking transactions should not be an issue,” the official said.
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