Chabahar port to harbor Chinese industrial town
The Iranian city of Chabahar is all set to host a Chinese-built industrial town as part of China’s role to develop Iran’s sole ocean port.
A technical team of CMI of China visited Chabahar in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan on Tuesday for the launch of the Chinese industrial town project, according to IRNA.
An Iranian official at the Chabahar Free Trade Zone told the news agency that the trip follows CMI managers’ last year visit to Iran where the two sides inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the construction of an industrial town there.
The official said the Chinese have already decided on a location for the project and that they will be developing the free-trade zone into a mega port through phased construction.
Chabahar Free Trade Zone is on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. It is the closest point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and Iran has devised serious plans to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.
The exact scope of China’s planned investment in Chabahar is unclear yet as the port is largely planned to be developed through a much-awaited effort by India.
Back in 2014, Iran and India signed an MoU to jointly develop the port and both sides agreed to allow New Delhi to lease two docks at the port for a period of 10 years – a move meant to cut India’s crude oil and urea transportation costs by around 30 percent.
India is also relying on the prospects of establishing rail links from Chabahar to Afghanistan and thereon to Central Asia.