NITC Planning Return to Global Markets

NITC Planning Return to Global Markets NITC Planning Return to Global Markets

The National Iranian Tanker Company has devised different scenarios to return to the European market, especially new markets, once sanctions against the country are lifted, managing director of the NITC said.

However, "returning to international markets will not happen at once," Ali-Akbar Safaei was quoted by ILNA as saying.

“We have resumed our connections with partners in the maritime field” in the EU, he said. “All conditions are there to call at European ports” when sanctions are lifted.

In addition to industrywide sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, the EU also banned dealings with NITC, though a European court deemed the decision illegal and “unreasonable” last year. But the EU subsequently reinstated sanctions against the company.

A team of experts working for the company is now assessing the monetary value of the losses caused by sanctions and “then we will decide the course of action," Safaei said.

Iran was forced to rely more on NITC, the former state-owned shipping company, to transport crude oil after Europe imposed sanctions on Iran and banned insurers from covering ships carrying the Iranian crude.

Currently NITC's untapped capacity stands at 15.5 million tons, according to the official. The company is now ready to return to international markets and will create value added in global transportation trades, he said pointing to measures taken to this end, namely establishment of a giant fleet for transportation of petrochemicals, bitumen, methanol, LPG and LNG.

The company is in talks with insurance companies that are part of London’s International Group of P&I Clubs—a form of oil-shipping insurance coverage that pools insurers’ resources to cover high risks—as the company seeks to speed up its return to Europe, Safaei said, also mentioning contacts with European safety-rating agencies, shipping logistics agencies and finance houses.

NITC, the privatized Iranian shipping company, has 42 very large crude carriers, known as VLCCs, after buying 20 such China-built vessels in the past 2½ years. VLCCs can carry 2 million barrels of oil each.

“No other company in the world owns that number of VLCCs,” said Nassrollah Sardashti, NITC’s commercial director.

NITC’s biggest rivals all list fewer ships and one London-based analyst who tracks oil-tanker fleets, said he also believes NITC has the largest fleet. Competitors such as Mitsui O.S.K Lines and Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan and Belgium’s Euronav NV all confirmed owning fewer.

Iran and world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France, plus Germany) have given themselves until July 7 to break the nuclear deadlock after failing to reach a comprehensive deal by the self-imposed deadline of June 30.