Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines plans to modernize its fleet and is engaging international shipping majors to form alliances and re-enter western markets as Tehran exits a long period of sanctions that barred its vessels from calling at European and U.S. ports, the company’s chairman said Wednesday.
“We expect sanctions to be lifted in January under the comprehensive agreement between Iran and the West. We’ve been away for too long and our priority is to re-enter the international market,” Mohammad Saeidi told The Wall Street Journal in a rare interview on the sidelines of the Danish Maritime Days shipping conference.
Mr. Saeidi, who was formerly the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that annual trade between Iran and the European Union amounted to $15 billion before the sanctions and that Tehran expects to reach that level within three years. He also hopes access for Iranian vessels to U.S. ports to resume for the first time since 1979 when trade between the two countries was all but suspended.IRISL, Iran’s biggest shipping operator, is one of a number of Iranian companies first sanctioned in 2008 for advancing Tehran’s nuclear program. But the firm, which manages 158 container vessels, dry bulk carriers and tankers, is expected to return to the market in early 2016 under a deal reached this year between Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., China and Russia.