India gets first TIR shipment via Chabahar Port from Afghanistan
14, Mar 2019
The first shipment under the United Nations ‘Transports InternationauxRoutiers’ (TIR) convention arrived in India from Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port.
India had joined the TIR Convention (the United Nations Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets) on June 15, 2017.
The convention allows goods to be outlined in a TIR carnet and sealed in load compartments.
Customs officials verify the carnet and check the seals, with no need for physical checking of the contents, enabling shipments to pass through countries without being opened at borders.
“Reciprocal recognition of customs controls is at the heart of the Convention. This enables a facilitative and non-intrusive environment for multi-modal transport of goods through several countries.
TIR will play a pivotal role in improving ease of doing business and pave the way for smoother and safer transport of goods across international borders and will help boost trade between India, Central Asia, Europe and Russia.
It will act as a strong catalyst for moving goods using the multi-modal transportation route like Chabahar and International North-South Transport (INSTC) Corridor. The system is a win-win-win model for Customs, FICCI and the business community.
The opening of Chabahar Port for TIR is hugely significant offering connectivity for landlocked countries, seamless border crossing facilitation and intermodal capabilities.
It is located on the Makran coast, Chabahar in southeastern Iran. Its location lies in the Gulf of Oman. This coast is a relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone, especially when compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west. Also, it is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.
Why this port is of interest to India?
- India believes the port is critical to its interests and wants to develop it as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar port which was built with Chinese assistance.
- The port will allow India to bypass Pakistan to transport goods to Afghanistan and Central Asia using a sea-land route.
- Chabahar Port lies in the Persian Gulf in Iran and will help India in expanding its maritime commerce in the region.
- It also provides opportunities to Indian companies to penetrate and enhance their footprint in the region.
- It is located 76 nautical miles (less than 150km) west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar, being developed by China. This makes it ideal for keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar
- The port will cut transport costs/time for Indian goods by a third.
- From Chabahar, the existing Iranian road network can link up to Zaranj in Afghanistan, about 883 kms from the port. The Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009 can give access to Afghanistan’s Garland Highway, setting up road access to four major cities in Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.
INSTC: It will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. It can significantly boost import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India from Afghanistan. It can also help to reduce import cost of oil to India.
- India, Iran and Afghanistan sign three-way land transit agreement on Iran’s strategic southern port of Chabahar.
- Under the agreement, India will invest up to 500 million dollars in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran.
- It can spur unhindered flow of commerce throughout the region and its economic fruits will expand trade, attract investment, build infrastructure, develop industry and create jobs.
- India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan which will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.