Caution advised on post-sanctions Iran

TOC Middle East 2015 will discuss the way forward for the Iran's maritime trade and integrating Iranian ports back into regional logistics networks TOC Middle East 2015 will discuss the way forward for the Iran's maritime trade and integrating Iranian ports back into regional logistics networks

Previous trade sanctions imposed on Iran by the United Nations, the US and the European Union look likely to be lifted, but the industry is advised to reconnect with “caution”.

The lifting of the sanctions - which have restricted liquidity and constricted demand - will afford Iran the opportunity to rebuild after years of economic damage. Delegates at December's TOC Middle East conference will hear from regional experts on how the lifting of sanctions could influence the port and container terminal business.

A recent Drewry analysis revealed the Port of Shahid Rajaee, or Bandar Abbas, saw volumes rapidly decline following the sanctions. The port, which accounts for 90% of all Iran’s container handling, saw container throughput rise at an annualised rate of 13% from 2005-6 to 2011-12 to reach a record 2.6m teu. But as carriers started to move out, volumes at the port fell by 18% in 2012-2013 and 19% in 2013-2014 before staging a modest recovery in 2014-2015.

The collapse in global oil prices is also said to be damaging Iran’s state revenues and cutting incentives to invest in rebuilding its primary export industry. However, the lifting of sanctions could also release up to $100bn in Iranian assets frozen abroad.

With sanctions likely to be lifted, a number of global carriers including Everdeen, UASC, CMA CGM, Yang Ming, CSCL, HMM and Hanjin are now said to be making plans to add Bandar Abbas to several Asia-Middle East port rotations.

In the port sector, DP World is reportedly interested in talking to Iranian authorities about developing one or more terminals in the country, and Contship Italia Spa has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sina Port and Marine Company (SPMCO), with a view to exchanging experience and know-how on various aspects of port operations and logistics management.

Two senior Iranian port executives – Behzad Alsafi of Bandar Abbas Port Authority and Majid Asadi of Sina Port and Marine Company – will discuss the way forward for the country’s maritime trade and what needs to be done to integrate Iranian ports back into regional logistics networks at this year’s TOC Middle East.

The event will be held December 8-9, 2015 at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre in Dubai, UAE.

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