India has delivered a consignment of heavy equipment, including cranes, for further development of Iran’s Chabahar port, the Hindustan Times reported.
The report said that this signals New Delhi’s commitment to the strategic connectivity project that can provide access to markets in Central Asia.
The consignment included two mobile harbor cranes of 140 metric tons, which were acquired from the Italian firm Italgru S.r.l. under a deal for a total of six cranes, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity, according to the report.
“The first shipment of strategic loading and unloading equipment worth $8.5 million has arrived in Chabahar port to mark the activation of the contract between the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) and the Indian side,” said Behrouz Aghaei, director-general of the ports and maritime department of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province.
Aghaei told Tehran Times that the heavy equipment will be installed at Shahid Beheshti terminal at Chabahar port, which is operated by India.
In May 2016, India Ports Global and Iran’s Aria Banader Iranian Port and Marine Services Company signed a deal to equip and operate the Shahid Behesti terminal, with a capital investment of $ 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $ 22.95 million, on a 10-year lease.
Despite the Chabahar port being granted a waiver from US sanctions on Iran, India has faced problems in acquiring heavy equipment from foreign countries, mainly because of the reluctance of foreign banks to open letters of credit (LoCs) for a project within Iran.
A special process was adopted to acquire the cranes from Italy that sidestepped the sanctions issue, the people cited above said. The cranes were shipped to India before being transported to Chabahar, they added.