Economy, Domestic Economy
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Troubled Taiwan Shipping Line Cuts Iran Service

Yang Ming, the world’s ninth largest container shipping line, is a comparatively small player in Iran, calling there just once a week.Yang Ming, the world’s ninth largest container shipping line, is a comparatively small player in Iran, calling there just once a week.

Taiwan’s troubled Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp is halting its container service to Iran, becoming the first foreign shipping line to abandon the route a year after international sanctions on Tehran were lifted, according to a company source.

Yang Ming, the world’s ninth largest container shipping line, is a comparatively small player in Iran, calling there just once a week. Several larger shipping lines have begun serving Iran since sanctions were lifted a year ago.

An executive with Keelung-headquartered Yang Ming told Reuters that the firm had “ceased direct services to Iran on concerns of rising tensions there”.

“We took into consideration the recent sanctions against Iran as well as the current geopolitical tensions in the region and what’s been going on between Iran, the US and Europe,” the executive said, declining to elaborate.

Reuters was unable to confirm independently whether the cancellation of the route was due to new concern over Iran, or to changes at the Taiwanese company trying to slash costs after it posted a loss of $62 million in the last quarter of 2016.

Yang Ming announced on Thursday in a regulatory filing it had suspended its share trading until May 4 to reduce losses from a global downturn in shipping.

The executive said Yang Ming had also adjusted some of its routes in Asia as a result of the downturn, but that ceasing direct service to Iran was mainly because of geopolitical issues rather than the cost-cutting drive.

Container shipping firms, including the world’s top three, namely Maersk Line of Denmark, MSC of Switzerland and CMA CGM of France, are among foreign lines that have resumed services to Iran after the nuclear deal.

 

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