EURASIAN COUNTRY NEWS REVIEW – Turkey

This is beginning of new section of Eurasia News Online – Country News Review – Turkey

Turkey’s first publicly owned FSRU project inaugurated

With 110 million cubic meters of storage and 28 million cubic meters of gasification capacity, Turkey’s first publicly owned floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and gasification vessel (FSRU) will add significant flexibility to Turkey’s energy supply chain security, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Ertuğrul Gazi in the southern province of Hatay on June 25, Dönmez said the vessel had the highest gasification capacity among the existing FSRUs in the world.

With speedy integration to the grid system and its ability to mobilize quickly, the ship can be quickly dispatched to regions where it is needed to operate resource points in areas of high consumption, Dönmez noted.

It will undertake its first ship-to-ship LNG transfer on June 29, he confirmed.

The vessel will help ensure that Turkey’s record of uninterrupted power supply will continue. It will be able to meet 8.2 percent of the daily natural gas capacity supplied to the grid system.

Turkey’s first FSRU was launched in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Aliağa district in December 2016 at a time when the country needed extra gas capacity to meet increased consumption due to the very cold weather conditions.

The Ertuğrul Gazi FSRU is owned by Turkey’s state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipeline company, Botaş.

It will connect to facilities in Hatay and meet the annual household energy demand of the provinces of Hatay and Osmaniye.

Turkey imports around 45 billion cubic meters of natural per year, paying approximately $12 billion to pipeline exporters Russia, Azerbaijan and İran, as well as LNG suppliers, including Qatar, Nigeria, Algeria and the United States.

Nearly a third of the country’s gas needs are met with LNG supplies.

New discoveries in the Black Sea are expected to provide as much as 30 percent of the gas Turkey’s $730 billion economy requires when plateau production is reached, which is targeted for 2025.

Discoveries are also expected to allow Turkey to import cheaper gas and trim the annual average energy bill of around $44 billion.

Source:


Turkey’s mega Istanbul Airport busiest in Europe June 10-24

Istanbul’s mega airport, Istanbul Airport, was the busiest in Europe between June 10-24, according to official data.

Data from the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) shows that the state-of-the-art airport hosted the highest number of flights with an average of 764 daily flights during the period. This was a 12% increase over the previous two-week period.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport took second place on the list with 733 daily flights.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul’s second international airport and located on the metropolis’ Anatolian side, ranked 6th with an average of 582 flights per day. It increased its flights by 16%.

Even with all of the restrictions being implemented in 2020 due to COVID-19, Istanbul Airport still ended up as the busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger numbers with 23.4 million travelers. The newly built facility surpassed London’s Heathrow and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle, which followed Istanbul with 22.3 million and 22.1 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines (THY) has now reached over 1,000 flights a day for the first time since COVID-19 struck, the carrier announced Saturday.

The airline operated 1,065 flights on Friday, June 25, leaping 23.4% from June 4, when it had announced a 15-month daily flight record, according to a Turkish Airlines statement.

Source:

“KamAZ of Doomsday, the conqueror of the poles…

You all know such tractors and trucks as KamAZ. They can be found on the streets of absolutely any city, on the highway, or even in villages. But what do we usually see? These are trucks, well, dump trucks. But what if I tell you that KamAZ has an incredible truck capable of driving anywhere in general, of unrealistic dimensions and many functions, as well as with incredible design solutions? Today I will tell you about the coolest, largest and most expensive KamAZ – KamAZ-e “Arctic”!

In fact, no matter what work of art “Arctic” may seem. During the premiere, it did not make a splash. “How so ?!” – you ask. The answer is further in the article!


Creature

For the first time, the idea to make such a “miracle” came from a designer from Naberezhnye Chelny in 2017 and they embodied it in the form of KamAZ 6345 (in the photo on the left). However, it had to be improved and almost completely changed, and in the course of this, “Arctic” appeared. And when it was presented at the “COMTRANS19” exhibition, everyone thought it was just an improved 6345! However, if the old “Arctic” had a 6×6 base, the old cockpit. Then when everyone realized what KamAZ had done, then all the youth clambered over this car and just the same a sensation took place!

KamAZ 6345 (Left) and KamAZ 6455 (right, the same new Arctic) Photo taken from the site gruzovikpress.ru

Appearance

Agree that the appearance of this truck is something absolutely unusual and indescribable. This is a real doomsday machine. High ground clearance, unusual design, a bunch of ladders and equipment and the most unusual thing – wheels! It is also very unusual to watch him turn, but more on that later.

At the driver

This is how the workplace of the driver of this “miracle” looks like. But in order to drive such a truck, you need to be a real extreme, or a complete professional in your field.

Despite the abundance of functions and the unusualness of this truck, the driver will not be confused in the cab: everything is intuitive and simple, especially for those who have already driven KamAZ-ah. As you may have noticed, there is an automatic transmission here, because poking around with a “handle” on such a car would not be the best thing to do. Naturally, even a sleeping bag is provided here!

For what

I think that by the very name of this tractor, you have already understood what it was created for. The word “arctic” speaks for itself! But it was made not only for the conquest of the poles. It is provided for and created for hard-to-reach terrain, where there is no road from the word “at all”;
for wetlands where conventional trucks cannot pass; and the list of what it was prepared for includes tundra, taiga, permafrost.

Photo taken from the site gruzovikpress.ru

Constructive decisions

Naturally, the most important and unusual solution, one might even say a design temptation, is the articulated frame, which is movable in the horizontal plane and provides a minimum turning radius. The maximum folding angle, by the way, is 45 degrees!

Photo taken from the site gruzovikpress.ru

Technical specifications

Below, instead of a ton of text, I will give photographs of the size of the “Arctic” 8×8 and a small list of its technical characteristics:

Photo taken from the site gruzovikpress.ru

Photo taken from the site gruzovikpress.ru

Here is such an article! By the way, the price of this miracle starts at 15 million rubles! What do you think about this truck? Personally, I don’t even know how to summarize

HyPower Lab leads hydrogen drone revolution

South Korean firm envisions the drones being used for parcel delivery, agriculture, freight and transportation

By DAVE MAKICHUK

Hydrogen fuel cell technology (HFCT) is expanding rapidly in many sectors.

For example, Volvo and Daimler have now partnered to speed up the transition away from diesel trucks and towards fuel cell electric vehicles in the European Union. Hydrogen-powered trains are now running in Germany.

BMW Group recently announced plans to unveil a limited series hydrogen fuel cell SUV in 2022. French aerospace giant Airbus is investing heavily in mature fuel cell propulsion systems for the zero-emission aviation market. 

Well, get ready for the newest twist — hydrogen-powered drones.

Not only that, but commercial drones, making deliveries and transporting people.

According to a report in FreightWaves.com, a South Korean-based hydrogen company, in concert with Russian researchers, has announced it will work to commercialize a hydrogen fuel cell drone.

Hypower Lab claims that using fuel cells can increase the flying time of a drone more than four times over traditional lithium-ion batteries — a major advantage.

It also envisions the drones being used for parcel delivery, agriculture, freight and even passenger transportation.

The R&D firm is working with the fuel cell research center under the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics (IPCP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the report said.

Yury Dobrovlsky, who leads the IPCP RAS research center, said the combination of Russian hydrogen fuel cell technology and Korean artificial intelligence technology will lead to mass production of the drone at competitive prices.

Developing drones for multiple applications

“We will lead the popularization of drone aircraft in the delivery drone commercialization market that needs around 3 million commercial drones in 2025 by establishing the hydrogen fuel cell mass production system exclusively for drones in South Korea,” he said.

The companies will work to develop drones for multiple applications in both Russia and South Korea, the report said.

The drone, which has a flight time of over three hours, Hypower said, features a 12-liter fuel canister with 4.8 hours of battery life.

Hypower is not the only company working on hydrogen-powered drones.

Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI) announced it too had successfully tested a hydrogen-powered drone in a humanitarian delivery, the report said.

In February, DMI said it would seek European Union approval for its hydrogen fuel cell powerpack for drones later this year. The pack provides 2.6 kilowatts of power for two hours of flight time.

DMI plans to sell its product in Europe, Korea, the US and China.

A hydrogen transport cylinder

To help solve the problem of transporting hydrogen to drones, Intelligent Energy, a UK-based company, has developed a hydrogen transport cylinder — the IE-Soar — that features a high-pressure valve, the report said.

The valve is a key enabler and will make it simple for customers to get their full cylinders where they need them and ready to use, company officials said.

Currently, the legal transport of hydrogen in Europe and the US is limited.

“We know our fuel cells are the ideal choice for UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operators requiring longer flight time,” Andy Kelly, head of UAV product development at Intelligent Energy, said.

“However, it is important that we support [these efforts] with the peripherals required to get operational. This valve is a key enabler and will make it simple for our customers to get their full cylinders where they need them and ready to use.”

Hydrogen is combined in the fuel cell with oxygen from the air to produce electricity; as long as hydrogen fuel is provided to the cell, the battery generates power.

This makes them valuable for long-range missions such as gathering aerial data or performing long-range deliveries and inspections, or for applications requiring larger drones and payloads.

Hydrogen batteries also work well in extreme cold weather, can be refueled in minutes and don’t emit greenhouse gasses like long-range, gas-powered drones do.

The Hycopter drone features a 12V payload power and an open bay that can carry up to six-pounds of additional equipment like a hi-res camera in gusty winds. Credit: Courtesy HES Energy.

 

Many hurdles remain however.

Around the world, hydrogen fueling stations currently are few and far between, Inside Unmanned Systems reported.

According to the US Department of Energy, the US has just 44 publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations and 42 of them are in California. Eighty-four of Europe’s 175-plus stations are in Germany.

The transportation of full, UAV-compatible, hydrogen cylinders is not permitted in Europe or the United States — they must be filled at hydrogen fueling stations, which are sparse.

The scarcity has impacted the time and cost of using hydrogen fuel cells in drone operations.

Intelligent Energy hopes its value can resolve key distribution issues for getting hydrogen to the drones for fueling.

“The next logical step is to get them delivered directly to our customers,” Kelly added. “We want it to be as straightforward as ordering barbecue gas and getting empty cylinders collected.”

HES Energy has also introduced a new, industrial-grade multi-rotor drone that aims to address this significant shortcoming, HiConsumption.com reported.

The new Hycopter is a hydrogen-powered six-propeller drone system that utilizes HES Energy’s innovative 1300W fuel cells to prolong flight duration to nearly three and a half hours — which is almost five times as long as a traditional industrial drone.

The 140g pressure regulated system has three different hydrogen storage options and acts as a platform for high-precision observation systems to remain in use for extended periods of time.

It features a 12V payload power and an open bay that can carry up to six-pounds of additional equipment like a hi-res camera in 20 mph winds.

Sources: FreightWaves.com, InsideUnmanned Systems.comDoosanMobility.comHi Consumption.com

The secrets of the newest Il-114-300

Its construction uses modern composite materials, so it is much lighter and more economical, including new powerful Russian engines

On April 7, at the aircraft plant in Lukhovitsy near Moscow, the second prototype of the Il-114-300 was presented. This new turboprop aircraft is an upgraded version of the Il-114 and is intended for regional transportation. Its construction uses modern composite materials, so it is much lighter and more economical, including new powerful Russian engines.

IL-114-300 is already called an air minibus. It is modern, safe, but also unpretentious in maintenance at any airfield, even if there is a difficult short runway. Hundreds of regional airfields need the Il-114-300, which will replace the obsolete An-24 and An-26 aircraft. The main task is to connect remote settlements with regional centers.

“The main thing for regional aerodromes is that this aircraft has a minimum clearance. Here you can get to everything without special airfield equipment. The plane also has its own built-in ladder, through which all 68 people can climb. The Il-114-300 can carry up to 7 tons at a time, “Zvezda’s correspondent Alexei Koshkin said.

Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yuri Borisov, together with the leadership of the United Aircraft Corporation, boarded a prototype aircraft and talked to test pilots right in the cockpit, where all the instruments are located on five modern LCD monitors. 

“For 30 years we have not made such aircraft. The market is waiting for something, ”Borisov said.

The Deputy Prime Minister also examined the production facilities of the enterprise and the IL-114-300 final assembly shop. There he was also presented with a second prototype aircraft, the assembly of which is proceeding according to the approved deadlines. This model has an updated airframe. It is being assembled using serial technologies, just as all the planes that will go to carry passengers and goods in the regions will be built.

Mass production expected to start in 2023

“We expect that from 2023 the aircraft will enter the series. The production capacity of this workshop is designed for at least 12 aircraft per year. The aircraft has chances in terms of export potential. It can be useful both in India and Iran, ”the Deputy Prime Minister said.

This new turboprop aircraft will withstand temperatures ranging from +45 to -55 degrees. According to the chief designer, the Il-114-300 is also super-safe.

“It has a modern flight and navigation complex for flights in adverse weather conditions, it has modern digital control engines. There is a new air conditioning system on it, ”said Sergei Ganin, chief designer of Il PJSC.

The new aircraft is being created from domestic components. Most of the equipment systems were developed by Rostec enterprises.

“Any employee can come up here, look at a 3D model in order to control or get some initial data for performing work on the plane,” said Alexander Fokin, head of the final assembly shop.

The first prototype Il-114-300 took off for the first time on December 16, 2020 at the airfield in Zhukovsky. The flight task included checking the operating modes of the power plant, the stability and controllability of the aircraft, as well as the functioning of its systems. Flight tests are still ongoing. Two more aircraft will join the test program. During the assembly of this aircraft, the cooperation of various enterprises of the United Aviation Corporation is being worked out.

Race is on to pioneer shipping of hydrogen

LONDON – Hydrogen is touted as an inevitable green fuel of the future. Tell that to the people who will have to ship it across the globe at hypercold temperatures close to those in outer space.

Yet that is exactly what designers are attempting to do.

In the biggest technological challenge for merchant shipping in decades, companies are beginning to develop a new generation of vessels that can deliver hydrogen to heavy industry. They are betting plants worldwide will convert to the fuel and propel the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

There are at least three projects developing pilot ships that will be ready to test transporting the fuel in Europe and Asia within the next three years, the companies involved said.

The major challenge is to keep the hydrogen chilled at minus 253 degrees Celsius. It is only 20 degrees above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature — so it stays in liquid form, while avoiding the risk that parts of a vessel could crack.

That’s almost 100 degrees Celsius colder than temperatures needed to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG). That required its own shipping revolution about 60 years ago.

Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries has already built the world’s first ship to transport hydrogen, Suiso Frontier. It said the prototype vessel was undergoing sea trials. A demonstration maiden voyage of some 9,000 kilometers from Australia to Japan expected in coming months.

“There is the next phase of the project already running to build a commercial-scale hydrogen carrier by the mid-2020s. An aim is to go commercial in 2030.

The aim is to use hydrogen to power commercial vessels as well in the future

The 1,250 cubic-meter tank to hold the hydrogen is double-shelled and vacuum-insulated to help maintain the temperature.

Kawasaki’s prototype, a relatively modest 116 meters long and 8,000 gross tons, will run on diesel on its maiden voyage. The company aims to use hydrogen to power future, larger commercial vessels, Nishimura said.

In South Korea, one of the world’s major shipbuilding hubs, another project is in the works.

Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering is the first company in the country working on building a commercial liquefied hydrogen carrier.

To tackle the hypercold challenge, the company said it was working with a steelmaker to develop high-strength steel and new welding technology, along with enhanced insulation, to contain the hydrogen and mitigate the risks of pipes or tanks cracking.

On the other side of the world, in Norway, efforts are also underway to build a hydrogen supply chain on the west coast of the country. One group looking to pilot a test ship that could transport hydrogen to planned filling stations. That would be able to service ships as well as trucks and buses.

Norwegian shipping company Wilhelmsen Group is working on the latter project with partners to build a “roll-on/roll-off” ship that will be able to transport liquid hydrogen by way of containers or trailers that are driven onboard, said Per Brinchmann, the company’s vice president, special projects.

Liquid or Gas Option?

The ship is expected to be operational in the first half of 2024, he added.

“We believe once we have this demonstration vessel operational the intention will be to build up bunkering hubs on the west coast (of Norway),” Brinchmann said, referring to the filling stations.

Other companies are exploring a different route to avoid the cold conundrum and what may happen when hydrogen atoms interact with metal.

Canada’s Ballard Power Systems and Australia’s Global Energy Ventures, for example, are working together to develop a ship to transport compressed hydrogen in gas form.

“The earliest time-frame would be 2025-26,” said Nicolas Pocard, vice president marketing and strategic partnerships with Ballard.

The advantage of this gas approach is that it does not require any extreme temperatures. But the downside is that less hydrogen can be transported in a cargo than liquid hydrogen, which is why some of the early movers are opting for the latter.

Wilhelmsen’s Brinchmann said that a 12-meter container would carry about 800 to 1,000 kg of pressurized hydrogen gas, but up to 3,000 kilograms of liquid hydrogen.

Such endeavors are far from risk free.

They are expensive, for a start. None of the companies would comment on the cost of their vessels, though three industry specialists said that such ships would cost more than vessels carrying LNG, which can run to $50 to $240 million each depending on size.

“The cost of a vessel transporting hydrogen will mainly be driven by the cost of the storage system. Storing liquid hydrogen could be very expensive because of its complexity,” Carlo Raucci, marine decarbonization consultant with ship certifier LR, added separately.

More than 30 countries support hydrogen rollout plans

The pilot projects, which are still in experimental stages, must overcome these technical challenges, and also rely on hydrogen catching on as a widely used fuel in coming years.

None of this is certain, though the state support being thrown behind this cleaner-burning fuel suggests it does have a future in the global energy mix.

More than 30 countries, including several in Europe such as France and Germany as well the likes of South Korea and Australia, have released hydrogen rollout plans.

Total planned investments could reach over $300 billion through to 2030 if hundreds of projects using the fuel come to fruition, according to a recent report by the Hydrogen Council association and consultants McKinsey.

The role of shipping would be important to unlocking the potential to convert industries such as steel and cement to hydrogen.

Those two heavy-industry sectors alone are estimated to produce over 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and overcoming their need for fossil fuels is one of the key challenges of the global transition to a lower-carbon economy.

Tiago Braz, VP energy with Norwegian marine technology developer Hoglund, said the company was working with steel specialists and tank designers on engineering a ship cargo system that can be used for transporting liquid hydrogen.\

Still in early stages

“We are at the early stages with hydrogen carriers. But unlike when LNG was first rolled out, the industry is more flexible to change,” Braz said.

“It should be a faster transition,” he added.

Specialists say the development of LNG took decades before it was fully rolled out, partly due to the infrastructure and ships required and the few companies willing to invest initially.

Companies active in wider shipping markets are also looking at the possibility of diversifying into transporting hydrogen in the future.

Paul Wogan, chief executive of GasLog Partners, which is a major player in LNG shipping, said it was “open-minded” about moving into hydrogen, while oil tanker owner Euronav said it was examining future energy transportation.

“If that energy is hydrogen tomorrow, we would certainly like to play a role in the emerging industry,” Euronav’s CEO Hugo De Stoop said.

Others such as leading ship-management company Maersk Tankers said they would be open to managing hydrogen shipping assets.

Johan Petter Tutturen, business director for gas carriers with ship certifier DNV Maritime, said his company was involved in concept studies for the transport of hydrogen in bulk at sea.

“It’ll be some years before these projects come to fruition, but if hydrogen is to be a part of the future fuel mix then we have to begin exploring all possibilities now.”

This Tiny Single-Piston Hydrogen Engine Offers A New Take On Internal Combustion

Bilal Waqar

Tiny single-piston hydrogen engine reverts the power back to the old-fashioned combustion engines.

Aquarius, the company behind the build based in Israel unveiled the tiny hydrogen engine and hopes that it can replace gas engine generators and hydrogen fuel cells in the future models of electric vehicles.

The engine weighs only 10 kg and a single moving piston aids it in developing power. The purpose behind the small build is to power an off-grid micro-generator.

Aquarius in its previous single-piston range used more conventional fossil fuels to create combustion. That is now swapped with emissions-slashing hydrogen. Austrian Engineering Firm AVL-Schrick testified that the small engine runs on hydrogen.

“It was always our dream at Aquarius Engines to breathe oxygen into hydrogen technology as the fuel of the future. From initial tests, it appears that our hydrogen engine, that doesn’t require costly hydrogen fuel-cells, could be the affordable, green and sustainable answer to the challenges faced by global transport and remote energy production.”

Despite being lightweight and small, the Aquarius engine design is straightforward and low maintenance. All-in-all it contains a total of 20 parts out of which the only moveable one is the piston. Amazingly, the small engine comes excluding the biggest of the concern relating to the engine and its performance, the engine oil, as per the company behind its build it does not requires any lubrication to perform.

The fossil fuel engines developed by Aquarius are undergoing initial testing in the field in North America, Europe, and Asia. In collaboration with Nokia, the company has completed its phase-one testing. Nokia foresees installing these micro-generators at communication towers in far-off places. A software also built by Aquarius would aid in monitoring the output and efficiency of the generators from the control rooms back in more developed areas.

Phase two testing would include Nokia testing these small generators at pilot sites in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Singapore.

The video below shows how its parts come together to form the whole of the mini engine.

Originally published by Wonderful Engineering

India has key first-mover edge on China in Iran

India doubling down on Iran’s Chabahar port project as strategic counter to China’s Belt and Road gains trade traction

By FM SHAKIL

When China clinched a massive $400 billion bilateral investment pact with Iran, few noted that India was already well-engaged.

By the end of May, India will begin full-scale operations in its first foreign port venture at Iran’s Chabahar. That is facility that opens on the Gulf of Oman that will aim to facilitate more South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East trade while bypassing Pakistan.

India’s US$500 million investment represents a clear and potent commercial challenge to China’s massive port investment in neighboring Pakistan’s Gwadar. Gwadar is a key component of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The 10-year lease agreement, a deal first clinched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tehran in 2016, has until now been hobbled by US sanctions imposed under the Donald Trump administration.  

Indian suppliers and engineers, some with interests in the US, were reluctant to deliver essential machinery and services to Iran on fears they could somehow be sanctioned, despite clear exemptions on Chabahar in Trump’s sanction order. That led to certain speculation that China may take over the project from India.

New Delhi has doubled down and accelerated the project with the shift from Trump to Biden. It is banking like others on a new breakthrough on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and a broader US-Iran warming trend.

Aerial view of Iran’s Chabahar port. Image: Twitter

India has supplied two large cargo-moving cranes. It will deliver two more in the coming weeks before the facility’s expected ceremonial opening.

New Delhi is already promoting the port’s potential humanitarian role, noting it was used to send emergency shipments of wheat to Afghanistan during the Covid-19 crisis and pesticide to Iran to deal with a recent locust infestation.

Pakistan is getting worried about losing regional trade

India’s renewed commitment to Iran via Chabahar is already setting alarm bells ringing in neighboring Pakistan, which is already losing regional trade mainly from Afghanistan to Iran despite US sanctions.

India and Pakistan recently announced a renewed commitment to an existing 2003 ceasefire over contested Kashmir. That move that should allow both to focus more on economic linkages than strategic rivalry.

Chabahar has seen limited operations since 2019, a result of US restrictions imposed on Iran’s energy exports. The port handled a mere 123 vessels with 1.8 million tons of bulk and general cargo from February 2019 to January 2021. It is well below its operating capacity, according to reports.

That’s set to change. New Delhi ultimately aims to link Chabahar to its International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). It is a project initially proposed by India, Russia and Iran in 2000 and later joined by 10 other Central Asian nations.

Some see the INSTC as a less-monied rival to China’s BRI. Belt-Road-Initiative has invested heavily in Pakistan’s road, power and trade infrastructure. And including huge multi-billion dollar investments at Gwadar port some critics have likened to a debt trap.

Security concerns sparked by armed groups in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where Gwadar is situated, have hindered progress on various BRI projects and pushed Pakistan to recently ramp up security at the Beijing-invested port.

From India to Europe – cheaper and faster

INSTC envisions a 7,200 kilometer-long, multimode network comprised of shipping, rail and road links. It is connecting India’s Mumbai with Europe via Moscow and Central Asia. Initial estimates suggest INSTC could cut current carriage costs by about 30% and travel times by half.

That means more trade and port activity for Iran and less for Pakistan. Last year Iran has already usurped 70% of Pakistan’s recent transport business at Karachi port.

Landlocked Afghanistan has traditionally relied on Pakistan as its gateway to international shipping routes. However, recent trends indicate that as much as 70% of Afghan transit trade is now handled by Iran.

If India presses ahead as planned with INSTC, Pakistan would be the ultimate loser as Afghan and Central Asian transport business diverts increasingly to Chabahar and away from Karachi and Gwadar.

“Iran had already started working on a 600-kilometer-long railway line connecting Chabahar port to Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province close to the Afghan border,” he said.

India has already lined up $1.6 billion for the project to facilitate the movement of goods to and from Afghanistan via Iran. India also plans to invest $2 billion to develop supporting infrastructure including the Chabahar-Hajigak railway line in Afghanistan.

Many Afghan traders are plugging into Chabahar

Many Afghan traders still rely on traditional transit routes through Pakistan. However, many are plugging into Chabahar’s comparative cost-effectiveness and speed in handling transit cargo, analysts say. The same is true for Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other landlocked Central Asian countries looking for alternatives to Pakistani ports.      

Pakistan-Afghanistan trade has recently fallen from around $2.5 billion to $1 billion annually due to wide-ranging differences over the now expired transit agreement.

“Afghans want Pakistan to allow Afghan wheelers to enter into Indian border areas through Wagah for transportation of Afghan export goods and on return upload import consignments from India,”

“Pakistan on the other hand argues that the APTTA is a bilateral arrangement between Pakistan and Afghanistan and not a trilateral agreement to facilitate mutual trade between India and Afghanistan,”.

Chabahar is Iran’s only oceanic port and so far consists of Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti terminals. Each of which has five berth facilities. The port is located in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province. It is about 120 kilometers southwest of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where the China-funded Gwadar port is situated.

In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a trilateral agreement for the strategically-located Chabahar to give New Delhi access to Kabul and Central Asia without having to travel through Pakistan.

Chabahar is regional project unlike Gwadar which is China oriented

The original plan committed at least $21 billion to the so-called Chabahar–Hajigak corridor, which then included $85 million for Chabahar port development, a $150 million credit line to Iran, an $8 billion India-Iran MoU for Indian industrial investment in a Chabahar special economic zone, and $11 billion for the Hajigak iron and steel mining project awarded to seven Indian companies in central Afghanistan.

Unlike Chabahar, which is designed more to serve the economic and trade interests of the wider region, Gwadar is more tilted toward Beijing’s ambitions, analysts and traders say.

Gwadar port’s planned capacity will accommodate a massive 300 to 400 million tons of cargo annually, comparable to the combined annual capacity of all Indian ports. It also dwarfs the 10-12 million tons of cargo handling capacity now planned for Chabahar.

In another comparison, the largest US port at Long Beach, California, handles 80 million tons of cargo, about a quarter of what Gwadar could handle upon completion of a project that is designed largely to receive and move China’s, not the region’s, trade.