The eyes of the world continue to be focused on the current situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover of the country. But how the political situation will turn to, is yet to be seen over time.
In the maritime industry, the main concern is how the Taliban takeover will impact on the shipping industry?
Afghanistan benefits from an attractive geographic location, situated at the midpoint of Central Asia and located along important cities of the Silk Roads.
However, it is expected that the shipping pattern is to change and has put a question mark on the Chabahar port project in Iran. The Chabahar port serves as the only oceanic port located in Iran, on the Gulf of Oman, operating since 1983, being an important port for Iran and the Middle East.
The cargo volumes distributed through Chabahar began to decline after the outburst of the pandemic. The Taliban takeover on Afghanistan, could be the point of no return for the Chabahar port project.
Afghanistan was cooperating with Iran and India to develop and expand the Chabahar Port, expected to be an alternative route to support trade between India and Afghanistan. As imports and exports into Afghanistan are normally routed through Pakistan or Iran. The Chabahar port in Iran is a much closer route, as it is 800 km closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port or Gawdar port.
Moreover, this cooperation will allow the west coast of India to be linked with Chabahar and give access for Indian goods to pass through Iran into Afghanistan and beyond.
The expansion was scheduled for completion in 2024. However, it is expected, that with the Taliban takeover, exports and imports in Afghanistan are more likely to go through the Karachi port.