Domestic Economy

New Caspian Shipping Lines to Boost Exports

New Caspian Shipping Lines  to Boost ExportsNew Caspian Shipping Lines  to Boost Exports

Trade Promotion Organization of Iran on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines to launch two new shipping lines in the Caspian Sea, connecting Iran's northern ports with Russia and Kazakhstan.

The new shipping lines are aimed at reducing the time and cost of export to the neighboring countries improving the competitive edge of Iranian products in these markets, TPO head, Valiollah Afkhami-Rad was quoted as saying by IRNA.

"All traders exporting to Russia and Kazakhstan are requested to deliver their goods to the IRISL to benefit from the facilities and subsidies provided by the government," he said. "TPO would gradually reduce the subsidies provided on the new shipping lines to invest on development of new air and maritime routes."

The new Caspian Sea routes have the capacity to ship from 18,000 to 36,000 tons of goods per week, according to managing director of IRISL, Mohammad-Hossein Dajmar, who noted that the vessels used are equipped with refrigerated containers to facilitate the export of perishable commodities.

As per the agreement, six trips have been scheduled per month from the northern ports of Bandar Anzali in Gilan Province and Amirabad in Mazandaran Province to Aktau in Kazakhstan and Astrakhan in Russia.

> Int'l Sea Expo

The First International Marine Exhibition of Islamic Countries (Iran's third sea expo) was inaugurated at Tehran’s Mosalla on Saturday and will run until June 9.

As many as 75 domestic and 20 foreign maritime companies from 11 countries, including Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Morocco, Croatia, South Korea, the Philippines, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates, are participating in the exhibition to showcase their latest products and services.

The exhibition is aimed at showcasing the latest achievements in the fields of ship transport, shipbuilding, marine industry, hydrographic surveying, oceanography and meteorology, port services and equipment, offshore oil and gas operations, logistics, maritime tourism, marine laws, special economic free zones, fisheries and aquaculture, maritime search and rescue, marine science and technology universities and holding marine workshops.

Establishing new sea links with other countries in the north and south of Iran is part of the government's agenda to boost export of non-oil commodities to the neighboring countries.

Iran recently launched a direct shipping line with Oman after an agreement was signed between the chambers of commerce of Iran and Oman and an Iranian private shipping company during a visit by a business delegation from Muscat to Tehran on April 25.

> Lifting  of Shipping Sanctions Likely

Mehr News Agency on Sunday quoted Dajmar as saying that a European court of appeals has ruled in favor of lifting the European Union's sanctions against IRISL, raising hopes that Iranian ships can once again set sail to the European ports.

"Iranian vessels are still banned from using the European waterways but the issue is being pursued by the foreign minister and it is likely that the sanctions will be lifted. The general positive atmosphere surrounding the ongoing nuclear talks also gives rise to the hopes that the issue is set to be resolved," he added.

"IRISL has also claimed damages in the European court," said Dajmar, expressing hope that Iran's plea will be accepted, recalling that the same court ruled in Iran's favor in two earlier stages.  

IRISL came under sanctions by the EU in July 2010 for its alleged involvement in Iran's nuclear program. It is also facing sanctions by the United States, the United Nations, and other parties.

Before being targeted by sanctions, IRISL operated the largest dry bulk carrier in the Middle East and had up to 150 vessels under its control. However, successive EU and US sanctions against it and its subsidiaries have severely affected its commercial operations.