Iran’s deputy minister of commerce said on Thursday that the government was doing follow-ups on a promise to grant a 30-percent discount on customs duties for cargoes unloaded at Shahdi Beheshti area of the port of Chabahar.
Hossein Modarress Khiabani said that the government had also made it mandatory for two major state-run companies to unload and transport their import cargoes via the facilities at Shahid Beheshti area rather than their traditional destination at Imam Khomeini Port in southwest Iran.
The measures come amid reports that Iran has expedited efforts to increase activity in Chabahar after India, a major partner for the development of the port city, said it was unhappy with the slow progress made to turn the port into a major shipping and trade hub in the region.
India has signed major agreements with Iran to build two terminals at Shahid Beheshti area and a railway connecting Chabahar to the city of Zahedan near the Afghan border as it seeks easier trade access to Afghanistan and countries in the central Asia region.
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The development programs, however, hit a snag last year after the US imposed a new round of sanctions on Iran over the country’s nuclear activities.
Iran’s transportation minister said earlier this month that Tehran had accelerated construction activities at its section of Chabahar-Zahedan railway.
Measures adopted for increased port operations at Chabahar also come a week after Iranian authorities denied media reports that they were seeking to replace Russia with India in the development plans for the port.