29 Jul 2013

Port in Iran to be used for Afghan exports

6:27 am on 29 July 2013

Afghanistan hopes an agreement to use a port in Iran will help boost exports to Europe and India and reduce its dependence on Pakistan's ports for trade.

Iran will allow Afghanistan to use the port to export goods like fruit and carpets to India and other countries, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

Afghanistan currently relies on the port of Karachi in Pakistan for the bulk of its sea exports.

But that leaves traders vulnerable to political disputes between the United States and Pakistan, which has closed its border with Afghanistan at least twice over recent years, cutting US military supplies to Afghanistan, as well as routine trade.

Transport companies were banned from moving Afghan goods to Karachi recently, delaying containers for about three months.

Afghanistan hopes to export "premium" fruit such as pomegranate to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Other types of Afghan exports include fresh and dried fruit, saffron and carpets.