CHABAHAR- Lying on the coast of the Gulf of Oman in Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province, Chabahar is the country’s only oceanic port and given its strategic location in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) development of the port is of high significance for Iran.
The port has two significant docks, namely Shahid Beheshti and Shahid Kalantari, which are mostly referred to as ports, i.e. Shahid Beheshti Port and Shahid Kalantari Port.
The first phase of developing Shahid Beheshti Port is projected to be inaugurated next week in a ceremony to be attended by President Hassan Rouhani and top officials from 27 countries, according to Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) Managing Director Mohammad Rastad.
In this due, Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchestan Province hosted a large media delegation including 50 journalists and reporters from domestic and foreign media on a two-day visit to the southeastern port.
Addressing the visiting media delegates in a press conference on Monday, Dr. Behrouz Aghaei, the director general of Sistan-Baluchestan Ports and Maritime Department, stressed that Iran’s sea port trade will rise through Chabahar Port, saying: “We should not ignore Chabahar development if we want to promote our share of sea trade.”
Shahid Beheshti Port development costs near $1b
Aghaei said: “Following the emphasis put by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on development of Chabahar, we have started development of the port since the Iranian calendar year 1386 (March 2007-March 2008).”
“We have already expended near $1 billion for the development of Shahid Beheshti Port”, the official announced.
“We built 1,650 meters of breakwaters and 1,700 meters of docks in addition to 203 hectares of land reclamation for developing this port which is a unique job in the country”, he underlined.
Explaining more on the measures taken by his department for developing the port, Aghaei said, “We opened the LC for receiving the first part of required equipment in Khordad month of the last Iranian year (May 22-June 21, 2016]. The shipment included two strategic cranes which were assembled at the shortest time in a way that three vessels have been already unloaded by them.”
“The second part was received in the month of Ordibehesht [April 21-May 22, 2017] and the equipments were assembled during 40 days in a way that the containers which you see today in the dock are being moved by them. And the equipments of the third part are currently under assembly”, he added.
“One of our honors is that these equipments are being manufactured jointly by Germany in a way that some parts of them have been manufactured by Germany and some parts by Iran”, the official further highlighted.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Aghaei said that five phases have been planned for development of Shahid Beheshti Port to boost its capacity from the current 8.5 million tons (which is capable of reaching 15 million tons) to 82-85 million tons.
The maritime official also underlined Chabahar’s complementary role for Gwadar Port of Pakistan and Sohar Port of Oman.
Refereeing to the project for building railway from Chabahar to Zahedan (center city of Sistan-Baluchestan Province), he said good measures have been conducted in this due and the project has a 25.7 percent progress so far.
The railway will be complete by the next 2-3 years so that the railway potential could be used for cargo transportation, he added.
Environmental protection observed
Visiting infrastructures and equipments in Shahid Beheshti Port, the journalists and reporters also listened to Amir-Hossein Esmaeeli, the operator of Shahid Beheshti Port development project, who described the measures, specially engineering operations, taken for development of the port.
Emphasizing that the project is complying with all environmental factors, the operator elaborated on the measures to displace 32,000 coral colonies to a distance of five kilometers far from the dock in order to protect them.
He further expounded upon docks of the port and said: “We built five docks in the first phase including two container docks with the length of 720 meters and three multipurpose docks with the length of 684 meters.”
He put the land reclamation at 32 hectares for the container docks and 31 hectares for the multipurpose docks of the port, saying: “We made 63 hectares land reclamation in total at the cost of $341 million.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Esmaeeli referred to the significance of conducting port development projects and said: “Given that over 86 percent of Iran’s trade is through the ports, we should make our development projects feasible in the shortest possible time.”