• ITVI.USA
    11,430.830
    74.770
    0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    3.272
    -0.130
    -3.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    19.970
    0.120
    0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    11,412.650
    71.160
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.710
    0.160
    4.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.720
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.960
    0.380
    14.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.240
    0.100
    4.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.160
    0.060
    1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.290
    -0.010
    -0.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    132.000
    -5.000
    -3.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    11,430.830
    74.770
    0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    3.272
    -0.130
    -3.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    19.970
    0.120
    0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    11,412.650
    71.160
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.710
    0.160
    4.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.720
    0.010
    0.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.960
    0.380
    14.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.240
    0.100
    4.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.160
    0.060
    1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.290
    -0.010
    -0.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    132.000
    -5.000
    -3.6%
American ShipperShipping

Container carriers resuming service to Iran

Mediterranean Shipping Co. is latest ocean carrier to resume regular liner service to the Middle Eastern nation as international sanctions are lifted.

   Major container carriers are resuming service to Iran as a sanctions are lifted.
   Mediterranean Shipping Co. said Monday it has resumed direct service to Iran, calling at the Port of Shahid Rajei, also known as Bandar Abbas, with its New Falcon Service.
   MSC said it suspended services in 2012 in response to trade sanctions, but had resumed service in April 2014, using a third party feeder service which allowed cargo to be transshipped in Jebel Ali.
   The Dec. 31 call by the 9,400-TEU MSC Domitille marks “the beginning of regular calls for MSC and paving the way for resuming business with Iran,” the company said. The ship “discharged 599 TEUs of cargo, or 300 containers of foodstuffs as well as agricultural commodities.”
   The New Falcon service between Asia and the Middle East offers a transit time of 21 days from Shanghai to Shahid Rajei. The full rotation is Xingang, Busan, Ningbo, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Chiwan, Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Colombo, Jebel Ali, Bandar Abbas, Ad Dammam, Jubail, Jebel Ali, Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Singapore, Nansha, and Xingang.
   MSC said its president and CEO Diego Aponte “was invited to Iran last year by the government for informal meetings with logistics partners to understand the trading landscape and prepare the ground for business operations in post-sanctions Iran.”
   In September, ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting said CMA CGM added a Bandar Abbas call to its weekly Midas service which calls India, the Middle East Gulf and Africa. According to BlueWater Reporting, the rotation of the Midas is Mundra, Khor Fakkan, Dubai Jebel Ali, Bandar Abbas, Longoni Comoros Is, Durban, Walvis Bay, Luanda, Pointe Noire, Apapa, Lagos Tin Can Island, Tema, Lome, Cotonou, Cape Town, Ngqura (Coega), Durban and Mundra.
   Maersk spokesman Timothy Simpson said the Maersk Group “met with representatives from the Iranian government to discuss possible projects.”
   “Nothing has been agreed and we cannot share further details,” he added. “We respect the international sanctions framework, and any decision on engagement in the transport business in Iran will have to await sanctions repeal.”
   Simpson noted, however, “in the event of lifting of international sanctions, Iran will have great potential for new commercial business activity. Maersk Line is prepared to resume commercial container business in Iran again as and when international sanctions are repealed. Any decision on engagement from our side would have to await full clarity of the sanctions repeal.”
   A cautious approach by Maersk seems natural given that in 2010 the U.S. Treasury Department announcement last week that Maersk Line Ltd. (MLL) the U.S.-flag shipping arm of the A.P. Moller Group, paid more than $3 million to settle OFAC allegations that it violated U.S. regulations by providing unlicensed shipping services for 4,714 shipments of cargo to or from Sudan and Iran from January 2003 to October 2007. Maersk said at the time the shipments did not originate in the United States, but apparently were mistakenly loaded and made part of their voyage to or from Iran.
   Last May, the containership Maersk Tigris, which is chartered by the carrier from Rickmers Group, was forced to anchor in Iranian waters after Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) patrol vessels fired warning shots at the vessel. The ship was transiting through the Persian Gulf to Jebel Ali when it was seized over a decade-old cargo dispute.
   In 2010, American Shipper found 20 of the 25 largest shipping companies offered service between Bandar Abbas and somewhere in the world.
   Today, BlueWater Reporting shows the following container carriers call at Bandar Abbas on one or more services: Evergreen, Hyundai, OOCL, Hanjin, “K” Line, KMTC, X-Press, UASC, CSCL, ANL, COSCO, Delmas, U.S. Lines, Yang Ming, Wan Hai, PIL, Emirates, RCL, Messina. Most of these loops are intra-Asia services.

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

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