Economy, Business And Markets

Tehran, Seoul to Revive Trade, Shipping Ties

Tehran, Seoul to Revive Trade, Shipping TiesTehran, Seoul to Revive Trade, Shipping Ties

According to South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines will start operating a 5,000-ton container ship to Busan Port once a week starting next month.

This will mark the resumption of business that was suspended in late 2011, South Korean English newspaper Korea Joongang Daily reported.

After establishing a joint venture with a Korean firm in 2004, IRISL sent vessels to the Busan and Gwangyang ports three times a week, but the business was halted after economic sanctions went into effect in December 2011.

Korean companies such as Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hanjin Shipping resumed business with Iran since last June.

To get the trade going again, IRISL brought 4,550 containers to Busan in February.

“We are loading steel products and electronic appliances, as well as auto parts into containers now,” a spokesman for IRISL said.

IRISL established a joint venture with Korea’s Sebang Group in 1965 that handled ship loading and unloading. The South Korean company later launched a battery business and was investigated in 2006 for irregularities in winning a contract to supply batteries for the Korean Navy’s submarines.

“Sebang hasn’t performed well in the [loading] business since that time,” an industry insider said.

IRISL split with Sebang in 2009 and established its own office in Korea, but the Iranian company will maintain its business relationship with Sebang as it has a one-third stake in Busan Port’s International Terminal.

Busan Port Authority said the number of containers shipped between Korea and Iran will be increased by 60,000 from a year ago to 100,000 units. Before the economic sanctions, the number of containers shipped between Korea and Iran was 180,000 per year.