The port is expected to make Chabahar, Iran’s closest sea link to the Indian Ocean, a rival to the Gwadar Port, some 80 km away across the border in Pakistan
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on December 3 inaugurated a newly built extension to the country’s main Arabian Sea outlet, the strategic Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman, which more than triples its capacity and poses a challenge for a port under construction in neighbouring Pakistan.
The $340 million project was constructed by a Revolutionary Guard-affiliated company, Khatam al-Anbia, the largest Iranian contractor of government construction projects. It brings the capacity of the port to 8.5 million tonnes of cargo annually, from the previous 2.5 million tonnes.
The extension includes five new piers, two of them for containers allowing cargo vessels with up to 100,000-tonne captaincy to dock.
It is also expected to make Chabahar, Iran’s closest sea link to the Indian Ocean, a rival to Gwadar Port, some 80 km away across the border in Pakistan, which Pakistan has been building with Chinese investment.
Mr. Rouhani, however, downplayed the rivalry in his inauguration speech and said the port will bring “more engagement and unity” among regional countries. “We should go after positive competition,” he said. “We welcome other ports in the region, we welcome Gwadar’s development.”
Iranian state TV said the inauguration was attended by dignitaries from India, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries.