Investors say there is still a lack of intrastate goods traffic in the port and Afghan businessmen continue to face visa problems.
Chabahar Port Open For Afghan Exporters: MoCI
The Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MoIC) on Wednesday announced that with the inauguration of the first phase of Iran’s Chabahar port, the Afghan business community is now able to export its merchandise internationally.
MoIC spokesman, Musafir Qoqandi, said currently heavily loaded ships are sailing to the port with the capacity of over 60 tons of goods. He added that the Iranian government has pledged to increase the port capacity to over 100 tons in the near future.
He said that still there is a lack of intrastate goods traffic in the port and Afghan businessmen are continue to face visa problems.
This comes a few weeks after the first shipment of Indian wheat left for Afghanistan via Iran’s strategic Chabahar port.
In October this year, India sent its first-ever shipment of wheat to Afghanistan through the new strategically located Iranian port which New Delhi has financially backed.
“With the first phase inaugurated, ships can sail. We are now able to launch our exports to India, South Asian countries and even to Australia and Malaysia,” said Qoqandi.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) says there is a need for parties sharing the port to increase efforts for the expansion of phase two and three, including expansion of infrastructure and addressing the issue of visas for Afghan traders.
Although Iran has pledged to extend the duration of visas for Afghan businessmen from one year to three years, practical steps to give effect to this have not been taken, said ACCI spokesman Seyam Pesarlai.
“Proper ground has been paved for the transfer of goods. We hope that once the second and third phases are inaugurated, we can take advantage of the added capacity. Still there some problems in Chabahar. For instance, there should an airport, a railway track. Also, the issue of electricity needs to be resolved,” said Pesarlai.
Over the past few years, Afghanistan has been changed into one of Iran’s major trading partners following a decrease in the bilateral trade and problematic commercial relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Afghanistan also uses Iran’s Bandar-e-Abbas port for its trade and economic purposes.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last Sunday inaugurated the newly-built extension to the country's main Arabian Sea outlet, the strategic Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman. The facility now more than triples its port capacity and is expected to expand trilateral business and commercial relations between Iran, Afghanistan and India.