The UK-flagged CMA CGM Andromeda became on Thursday the latest liner to call on Shahid Rajaee, Iran’s biggest container port on the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.
It arrived a day after Taiwan’s Evergreen, the world’s fifth largest container line, resumed services by sending Ever Legion to the Iranian port near Bandar Abbas. The Singapore-flagged container ship reportedly headed to the Saudi port of Dammam after loading and discharge operations.
Iran relies on container and bulk carriers to transport much of its basic needs, including food, medicine and other consumer goods. Foreign shipping lines ceased calling on Iranian ports after the US and Europe imposed sanctions on the country in 2011.
US and Europe’s blacklisting of Iran’s leading ports operator, the Tidewater Middle East Maritime Company, impaired commercial maritime traffic, curbing otherwise legal trade.
Last month, the official news agency IRNA said the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and Tidewater had been removed from the US list of companies designated for sanctions and assets freeze.
South Korea’s largest container carrier, Hanjin Shipping Co., resumed services to Iran along with several other international container lines even before the conclusion of nuclear talks last month.
The world's top container group Maersk Line has also indicated its intention to resume business in Iran, saying it sees great potential for trade.
Diego Aponte, CEO of the world’s second-largest ocean carrier MSC, and chairman of Duai-based DP World container terminal operator Sultan bin Sulayem recently visited Iran to explore grounds for business.
Italy’s largest container terminal operator, Contship Italia, also signed an MoU with Iran’s biggest port company Sina Port and Marine to resume trade in the country.
Earlier this week, head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) Mohammad Saeidnejad said 11 container shipping groups had opened offices in the Shahid Rajaee Port.