NITC Revenues Rise 80% in 2015

NITC Revenues Rise 80% in 2015NITC Revenues Rise 80% in 2015

The decline in oil prices has been a blessing in disguise for international oil vessels, including Iran's tanker fleet that made 80% more revenue in 2015 year-on-year, an executive at the National Iranian Tanker Company said.

"Leasing an oil vessel cost $25,000-30,000 in 2014, but prices jumped 80% in 2015," Nassrollah Sardashti, NIOC's director for commercial affairs, also told Mehr News Agency.

According to the official, the slump in crude prices over the past 18 months has led to massive layoffs across the oil industry, as major international producers are becoming insolvent or filing for bankruptcy, but shipping companies have been largely spared from the oil crisis.

"The year 2015 was an exceptional year for Iran and the global tanker industry compared to the first four years after the US and the EU introduced tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic," he said.

Some international sanctions against Iran were officially lifted in January, paving the way for the Persian Gulf country to start shipping oil cargos to its customers worldwide without fear of violating trade and financial restrictions.

According to Sardashti, despite volatility of global oil prices, shipping revenues nearly doubled over the past 12 months.

Oil was trading at a $115-a-barrel high in June 2014 but prices have since slipped to their lowest levels in years on the back of a Saudi-led OPEC decision to keep pumping rather than putting a lid on output to drive out higher-cost US shale producers.

According to reports, oil shipping accounts for nearly a third of global maritime trade, with the Strait of Hormoz in the Persian Gulf being one of the world's main shipping lanes.

Iran boasts the world's largest fleet of supertankers, having 42 very large crude carriers or VLCCs. The country also has the world's 21st largest tanker fleet ahead of regional rival Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar, Oman and the UAE, according to the United Nations' 2015 Maritime Transport report.

Data provided by NITC show the state-run company has 62 vessels with a total deadweight capacity of 15.5 million tons. It shipped more than 70 million tons of products in March-December under the sanctions regime.

However, Iran needs to modernize its aging tanker fleet to shore up revenues and remain a relevant player in the global shipping market.

According to shipping sources, South Korean shipbuilders, including Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries, are interested in cooperation with NITC.