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French line CMA-CGM to link India with Chabahar port

India’s efforts to operationalise Chabahar port in Iran will get a fillip when French shipping line CMA-CGM SA starts a service this week linking it with Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mundra Port.

“It will be the first vessel sailing from India to Iran,” said an executive at the India office of the world’s third biggest container carrier.

The service will connect JNPT and Mundra with Khorfakkan (UAE), Bandar Abbas (Iran), Jebel Ali, Umm Qasr (Iraq) and Chabahar.

Chabahar does not have a full-fledged container terminal, but geared vessels can call at the port and mobile harbour cranes are available to load and unload bulk cargo.

“We are trying to take the initiative of promoting Chabahar on the map because that is the closest connection to Afghanistan,” the executive added. CMA-CGM has been calling at Chabahar since February 2016.

Chabahar port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on the south-eastern coast, is a port of great strategic utility for India. It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is accessed from India’s western coast. India will equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.

Connecting Afghanistan

Using the existing Iranian road network, Chabahar port can be linked with Zaranj in Afghanistan about 883 km away and then using the Zaranj-Delaram road constructed by India in 2009, Indian traders can access Afghanistan’s garland highway thereby establishing road access to four of the major cities of Afghanistan — Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Chabahar port project will be the first overseas venture for an Indian state-owned port. Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, India’s biggest container port, holds a 60 per cent stake in Indian Ports Global Ltd with Deendayal Port Trust (earlier known as Kandla Port Trust) holding the balance stake.

CMA CGM is also revamping its dedicated CIMEX 2E service linking Asia with India East Coast with the additional call at Visakhapatnam Port Trust in addition to Chennai Port Trust which will enhance coverage of the region. The container terminal at Visakhapatnam Port is run by a joint venture led by the JM Baxi Group.

The extension of the service to Vizag will offer a wider coverage with direct loading from the main ports of Korea, North, Central and South China with Port Kelang and Singapore as transshipment hubs for South-East Asian origins.

CMA CGM operates 11 direct weekly services calling in and out of India, connecting ports in Europe, US, Africa, South America, Australasia, Asia and the Middle East Gulf.

Source: The Hindu Business Line

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