Iran Disappointed With Chabahar Ports Indian Operator, Seeks Alternatives

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IPGL Accused Of Providing Just 3% Of Total Chabahar Trade Throughput

Iran’s Secretary of the Shipping Association of Iran, Masoud Polmeh has expressed disappointment in the share of the Indian operators performance concerning Iran’s cargo transit via Chabahar Port.

Chabahar is the key Persian Gulf Port linking the INSTC to Mumbai and was co-invested by both the Iranian and Indian governments. Polmeh said that while the Indian state-run India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) began operations at Shahid Beheshti terminal in late 2018, the total volume of cargo it had handled was only about 3 percent of the total, and that the approach of IPGL had damaged Chabahar’s marketing and transit operations.

IPGL has handled about 4.8 million tons of bulk cargo, including trans-shipments from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Russia and the UAE in the period 2018-22.

Polmeh wants to select a second operator for the Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar, which would improve the business, commodity and container transport and investment, he said. Polmeh also said that IPGL’s investment in the Shahid Beheshti port was insignificant and did not fulfill commercial expectations.

Rebuttals from IPGL can be expected and it remains to be seen whether or not its performance truly leaves something to be desired or whether there are other political and vested interests at bay. Even so, with the volumes at Chabahar increasing, and expected to significantly do so next year when the INSTC railway line is completed, this dispute needs resolving quickly in order to not disrupt EU-South Asian trade, nor indeed, Indian exports.

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