Top container shipping lines review Iran operations

Maersk Line

Maersk Line and MSC, the world’s top two container shipping groups, are reviewing their Iran operations after the United States withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran.

The announced reinstating of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran is already starting to kick in as the shipping industry giants led by Maersk Line and MSC start to scrutinize their business operations with Iran.

The 2015 agreement lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limits to its nuclear programme. US president Trump now has also instructed his administration to re-impose US sanctions, after a winding down period.

“MSC is reviewing its services, operations and business relationships to understand if any are impacted and will comply with the timetable set out by the U.S. government,” said the private Swiss-headquartered group in a statement.

The company has no direct services to Iran, however, it uses third-party feeder ships to transport cargo between Iran and Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.

Denmark’s Maersk Line said separately it had ceased acceptance of the specific cargoes listed by the US Treasury this week.

“Our presence in Iran is limited. We will monitor the developments to assess any impact on our activities and keep our customers directly informed in case of any changes,”

Maersk Line serves the Iranian market via a feeder service using 3rd party vessels, ensured through slot purchase agreements from Jebel Ali (UAE) to Bandar Abbas and Bushehr.

Maersk Line has offices in Tehran, Bandar Abbas and Bushehr, employing a total staff of 12.

Swiss shipping major MSC is also reviewing its business to check the impact of the sanctions.

Commenting on the revision of operations by the two container shipping companies, Iranian port and Maritime Organization (PMO) said that the final outcome of the sanctions would depend on what Iran agrees with other parties of JCPOA.

As explained, the decision of the two companies to evaluate their operations does not necessarily mean they would leave Iran.

Maersk Tankers is also planning to wind down its business by the end of the required period mandated by the U.S. Treasury.

“Maersk Tankers has been transporting cargoes for customers in and out of Iran on a limited basis.

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