Container lines end Iran services ahead of US sanctions

CMA CGM has joined HMM, Maersk, and MSC in withdrawing its Iranian services, scrapping calls at Bandar Abbas, and suspended partnership with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

China is Iran’s largest trading partner, with 38 million tons of annual bi-lateral trade. Top 3 commodities are ore, slags, and ash, which grew more than 20% in 2017; mineral fuel oil, etc., was up 13%, and organic chemicals, up 10%. Salt, sulfur, earth, and stone was the fastest growing among top 10 commodities in 2017, up 35%. It is not yet known whether Cosco plans to continue trading with Iran.

Drewry Analyst said that Iran’s total of 2.95 million TEU in 2017 was only 91% of its record year in 2011. Before sanctions were imposed in 2012, Iran’s container port handling enjoyed 5-year compound annual growth rate of 18%.