Afghanistan has started exported through the Iranian port of Chabahar and in doing so has opened a trade route which connects the landlocked country to the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean.
According to Reuters, the first exports took place on February 23, 2019, and the Afghan government hopes the new trade passage will improve the war-torn nation’s economy by giving it access to global markets.
23 trucks carrying goods ranging from dried fruits, textiles, carpets and mineral products were dispatched from the western Afghan city of Zaranj to Chabahar port in south-east Iran.
The cargo will be shipped directly to Mumbai, India’s biggest port and massive sub-continental trading hub.
It is the result of an infrastructure partnership with India, which has helped Afghanistan develop the route.
For its part, India, which owns a section of the Chabahar port, has sent approximately 1.1 million tonnes of wheat and 2,000 tonnes of lentils to Afghanistan through the port.
The two countries established an air corridor in 2017 and the new land-sea route will boost trade between them. In 2018, Afghanistan exported US$740 million of goods to India, making it its largest export partner.
At an inauguration ceremony for the new trade route, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said it will improve regional cooperation and help reduce the country’s deficit.
He said: “Chabahar port is the result of healthy cooperation between India, Iran and Afghanistan this will ensure economic growth.”