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ITE Transport and Logistics

Iran’s shipping industry sets sail for success

January 16th, 2016, saw the removal of a number of  internationally sanctions previously imposed on Iran. Since then, the country’s various transport and logistics sectors have been undergoing a resurgence. Shipping is no different. 
 
The removal of these sanctions is very good news economically for the country, and the effects are already being felt. A report from Trend news agency stated that the country’s shipping costs have plummeted. Since January, these costs have dropped by 25%.
 
Iran’s state shipping carrier, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), has seen its global rankings jump upwards since the repealing of these economic sanctions. ISRISL now ranks as the 22nd largest carrier in the world according to global shipping website Alphaliner. 
 
IRISL’s Manging Director Mohammad Saeidi said the fleet is aiming to rise to the place of 15th largest shipping line in the next two years with a broad objective to get among the top ten by 2021.
 
A number of countries and international cargo companies are planning to step up port calls as Iran’s potentially huge maritime trade industry remerges. Mr Saeidi said Iran is negotiating with a number of European, Chinese and South Korean, as well as domestic companies, for building ships.
 
China’s Dalian Shipbuilding recently projected that Iran will need to spend in the region of $8-12 billion to replace their aging fleets by 2022. This figure covers vessels required for Iran’s maritime industry including cargo, container and oil ships. 
 
International firms have made commitments to increase shipping lines to Iran. CMA CGM, the third largest container line in the world, signed an agreement to share vessel capacity and operate trade routes with IRISL in January, 2016. In addition, CMA CGM stated it would open six offices in Iran, as of April 1st, as cargo company seeks to become a major player in trade between Iran and the global community.
 
Swiss-based shipping firm MSC has also made commitments towards improving its Iranian presence. The company signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Iran Ports and Maritime Organisation (IPMO) in March, 2016 to step up port calls to the country. MSC has pledged to increase stops at the Bandar Abbas, Chabahar and Bandar Imam ports and will carry shipments from Iran to international destinations.
 
Oman, a stone’s throw across from Iran across the Gulf of Oman, has also made overtures towards stepping up Iranian maritime trade operations. The Port of Salalah, located on the Gulf state’s southern coast, has also signed an MoU pledging to develop and promote an all-water route between the Iranian ports of Shahid Rajaee and Chabahar – a round trip of just over 2,100 nautical miles. 
 
A number of shipping and cargo firms months, re-instated their services to Iran in 2015 – nearly 10 years since the sanctions were first imposed in 2006. Companies who took the plunge and restored Iranian operations in 2015 included Mediterranean Shipping Co, the second-largest container line globally, Evergreen and the United Arab Shipping Company. 
 
Container trade has been predicted to grow substantially over the coming years. According to Mehdi Rastegary, head of research and development with Sina Ports & Marine Services, Iran’s largest terminal operator, the country will enjoy a 25% growth in container trade until 2021. 
 
“Within the coming five years, Iran can expect to expand its throughput to around 8 million 20-foot-equivalent units per annum, equating to 25 percent growth on an annual basis,” told JOC.com. 
 
With predictions of this magnitude, and the cooperation of some of the world’s preeminent shipping firms, the seas have calmed for Iran’s shipping sector. The coming years will likely result in a massively increased maritime presence for the country – and with this comes a rage of opportunities for international cargo, container and shipping companies. 


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