Domestic Economy

IRISL to Resume Services to France

IRISL to Resume  Services to France
IRISL to Resume  Services to France

The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines is launching a new service that will connect Iran to the French port of Le Havre.

Before nuclear sanctions, Iranian containerships called at Le Havre every week between 2006 and 2009, connecting the main Iranian ports.

The service will begin in February and be operated by HDASCO Line (Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Company), also named HDS lines, which is a specialist container carrier under the IRISL Group, according to the American Journal of Transportation.

“This is a great opportunity offered to the French importers and exporters who wish to develop their trade with Iran,” said Jean-Marc Peltier, liner department manager, WORMS Services Maritimes Agency-Le Havre.

The new service offers very competitive transit times: 19 days between Le Havre and Bandar Abbas, for example. It will call at the following ports: Bandar Abbas, Asalouyeh, Bandar Imam Khomeini, Bushehr and Khorramshahr in Iran and the port of Um Qasr in Iraq. 

The service will also call at the ports of Malta, Khor Fakkam, Jebel Ali, Xingang, Busan, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian and Port Kelang.

“This country, which has around 80 million inhabitants, is a high-potential market, especially regarding the sectors of chemicals, agri-food (flour, milk, etc.), cosmetics, electrical appliances, retail and of course, automotive trade as well as oil and gas industry,” Peltier added.

Le Havre calls are every Tuesday at the Terminal de France and handled by the Generale de Manutention Portuaire. 

“While world trade with traditional Asian partners is slowing down, promising perspectives with the Iranian market are most welcome.”

IRISL Chairman Mohammad Saeednejad said that the container shipper expects to have recouped by the middle of next year the business lost while Iran was subject to nuclear sanctions.

“Step by step, the problems have been resolved, removing many restrictions and limitations,” since the sanctions were lifted, he told Reuters in an interview at a shipping conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October.

“I think at the maximum in mid-2017, the whole thing would be in the normal manner (of) things,” he added.

Western-backed sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program were lifted in January this year after Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear program.

IRISL—once a global shipping power—was severely hit by prolonged anti-Iran nuclear sanctions. The lifting of sanctions has paved the way for IRISL’s resurgence and cooperation with international companies.

IRISL’s container carrier Azargoun called at Belgium’s Antwerp Port in March, for the first time in almost half a decade after calling at the port of Hamburg. The Iranian ship moored at Deurganck dock after departure from Germany’s Hamburg.

The last time IRISL made port calls to Europe was in 2010 through its subsidiary Hafiz Darya Shipping Company, or HDS Lines.

The removal of sanctions has also paved the way for the comeback of major international shipping lines.

According to Saeednejad, 17 major global shipping lines have resumed their services to Iran post sanctions. 

Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world’s second-largest shipping line in terms of container vessel capacity, and Evergreen Line are among the top shipping lines that have resumed cooperation with Iranian ports. 

France’s CMA CGM, the world’s third largest container shipping group, also called at Shahid Rajaei, Iran’s biggest container port at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, early August. The company teamed up with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines to share vessel capacity and jointly operate routes and marine container terminals. 

And most recently, Maersk Line expanded its footprint in Iran by adding a second port of call less than three months after it resumed services to the country following the lifting of sanctions. The Danish carrier, which suspended services in 2012, has added the port of Bushehr to its Iran coverage. Its service was relaunched with calls to Bandar Abbas in October.

With almost 90% of Iran’s foreign trade taking place through its territorial waters, Iran’s ports (of which there are 11 primary ones) are especially important. IRISL is the primary domestic player in this area.

Following the adoption of JCPOA, IRISL has announced its intention to become one of the world’s top 10 shipping lines by 2020.

Alphaliner has listed the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line as the 20th operator among the top 100 container lines, with a total capacity of 99,867 TEUs over 47 ships.

IRISL signed its first post-sanctions shipbuilding deal with the world’s largest ship manufacturer Hyundai Heavy Industries on December 9.

The Ulsan yard will build six chemical tankers and four ultra large vessels each at 49,000 DWT with a capacity of 14,500 TEUs. Delivery of the first of these mega container ships is scheduled for 2018. An additional two ULVs may also be in the works upon the completion of the initial order.

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