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Indian Port Operator Bans Cargo Containers From Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan

Iranian workers transfer goods from a cargo container to trucks at the Kalantari port in the city of Chabahar. (file photo)

India's biggest ports operator has announced that it will refuse containerized cargo from Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan after mid-November in a ban that is thought to stem for a major recent heroin seizure.

Adani Ports said on October 11 that its "trade advisory" on such cargo would apply to all 10 of its ports as well as third-party terminals from November 15.

The company didn't offer any reason for the stoppage but three tons of heroin was interdicted from two of Adani's containers at the Mundra port off India's western coast last month.

Authorities cited the consignment's origin as Afghanistan, long a hub in the global drug trade and currently being run by a month-old regime set up by the hard-line Taliban after a Western-backed government fled the country.

They said the confiscated heroin was worth an estimated $2.65 billion, one of the largest drug busts in India's history.

Smaller drug seizures in the region are fairly common, but six Iranian nationals were reportedly detained along with $20 million in heroin off the same Gujarati coast in September.

Adani Ports, part of the sprawling Adani Group conglomerate, said after the busts that it doesn't have the authority to examine all of the cargo handled by its terminals.

Based on reporting by AFP