Economy, Business And Markets

Iranian Container Ship Docks in South Korea

Iranian Container Ship Docks in South KoreaIranian Container Ship Docks in South Korea

The 5,100-TEU Iranian container ship docked at a quay in South Korea’s western port city of Incheon on June 15, 2016.

The entry of the Iranian vessel into the South Korean port was made after the owner of the ship, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, decided to kick off a regular service on an Iran-South Korea-China-UAE-Iran route on June 12, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

“We believe that Iran will be the starting point for opening a new silk road to expand trades with its neighboring countries, as well as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,” the president of the Incheon Port Authority, Yoo Chang-keun, said in a statement.

The container capacity from IRISL is likely to give priority to handling automotive parts imported from South Korea, which enjoy high demand in Iran, according to Incheon Port Authority.

The Korean port authority added that materials for large-scale infrastructure constructions, including harbor, supplies for halal food and Korean products like cosmetics, home appliances and household items, will flow into the Iranian market gradually as part of economic development by Iran.

  IRISL Global Ranking Rises

IRISL rose to rank as the 21st largest shipping line in the world, according to a June 17 report by Alphaliner, the global information platform on the liner shipping industry.

Its 99,582 TEU capacity places it between Hong Kong-based shipping lines of KMTC (120,061 TEU) and SITC (91,877 TEU).

This is the second time this year the Iranian shipping agency’s ranking has been improved by Alphaliner. The IRISL was ranked 22—up from 23—in the rating body’s May 11 report.

IRISL—once a global shipping power—was severely hit by prolonged sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program.

The lifting of sanctions in mid-January as part of a July deal reached between Tehran and world powers has paved the way for the Iranian state-owned shipping line’s resurgence and cooperation with international companies.

IRISL aims to cash in on Iran’s strategic geographical position and thrive as a global maritime transit hub. The shipping line has already started calling at European ports after a five-year hiatus.

It was recently reported that the IRISL and Iranian Offshore Oil Company have reached a preliminary agreement with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard of South Korea for orders valued at about $2.4 billion.

The orders are said to include as many as 10 petroleum-product tankers (each costing about $30 million) and at least six handy-sized bulk carriers (each costing about $20 million to build).

IRISL, which operates 115 oceangoing vessels with a total capacity of 3.3 million deadweight tons, is also reportedly discussing with Hyundai Heavy Industries Group an order for six 14,500-container ships.

The shipping line transported 33 million tons of cargo in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16), registering a record high with 22% growth compared with the previous year, according to IRISL’s Managing Director Mohammad Hossein Dajmar.

In terms of imports and exports, container shipping increased by 21% and bulk cargo shipping increased by 30% compared with the preceding year.

“The shipping group witnessed 23% growth in the number of trips and 11% increase in freight rates over the year,” the official added.