Islamic Republic of Iran attended in World Maritime Convention with attendance of 200 top managers and activists in maritime industry was held in Copenhagen.
Dr. Mohammad Saeidi as the head of visiting group and the managing director of IRISL attended in this forum.
In the meanwhile Dr. Saeidi had an interview with Wall Street Journal and Lloyd’s list along with Shipping Watch and Splash in which he elaborated IRISL fleet development plan. The information through these interviews were broadcasted worldwide .Wallstreet Journal: IRISL Plans to Modernize Fleet, Re-Enter Western Markets
Move comes as Iran prepares to exit long period of sanctions
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.
‘Over the next month we will complete how many ships we need. We will then engage in talks with financiers and yards for orders.’
—Mohammad Saeidi, chairman of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines “In the event of lifting of international sanctions, Iran will have great potential for new commercial business activity,” said Michael Storgaard, a spokesman for Copenhagen-based Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container operator in terms of capacity.
Anne Gronbjerg, Maersk’s managing director in Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq, said current overall container volumes in and out of Iran are half of what they were in 2011, before the latest wave of sanctions in 2012.
IRISL wants to grow its container fleet with giant Triple E vessels—that can move more than 18,000 containers—being the ships of choice.
Triple Es are operated by the world’s top 15 container operators, which have formed a handful of alliances that dominate the busiest ocean trade routes by sharing vessels, networks and port calls. Mr. Saeidi said IRISL wants to join one of those alliances once it secures the necessary capacity and has been touring European countries with major shipping clusters such as Greece, Germany, Cyprus, France and Denmark, to lay the groundwork.
“Over the next month we will complete how many ships we need,” he said. “We will then engage in talks with financiers and yards for orders.”
IRISL will tap Chinese banks and shipyards for new ships. Under guidance from Beijing, lenders such as China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China are providing billions of dollars in loans to operators, provided that orders go to Chinese yards.
“Chinese banks never stopped doing business with Iran and Iranian orders can be the next big thing for Chinese yards. said George Xiradakis, an adviser to China Development Bank. “China lenders will facilitate such orders.”
“Trade with the U.S. all but stopped in late 1979. If the U.S. decides to open its own ports the American expertise on power generation will be vital. Our electricity production has been problematic for the past five years so we want to move on our ships products from companies like Westinghouse Electric Corp. General Electric Co. and IT equipment fromIBM as was the case before the sanctions,” he said.
“We are a market of 80 million people and our message is that Iran is once again open for business,” he concluded.Iran reveals its fleet expansion shopping list
Saeidi: Suggests that relationships with China and Chinese banks will allow IRISL to place favourable orders at Chinese yards.
Newbuildings to be financed through funds said to exceed $120bn frozen internationally due to sanctions.
IRAN’S widely anticipated post-sanctions return to international shipping in 2016 will come with a fleet expansion shopping list consisting of 579,000 teu of containerships, 2m dwt of dry bulk vessels and 1.6m dwt of tankers, all to be operational by 2020 according to the recently appointed head of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
The bold statement of intent to modernise and expand the national fleet primarily through newbuildings will be financed through funds purported to exceed $120bn, currently frozen internationally due to sanctions.
IRISL is also discussing the possibility of alliances as part of the planned expansion strategy and is already pursuing talks with the Shipping Corporation of India regarding the revival of their Irano-Hind joint venture that was wound up in 2013, after 38 years in operation, due to sanctions restrictions on trade.
Details of the audacious state policy are being gradually pushed out to the industry via IRISL’s new chairman and managing director Mohammad Saeidi, the former deputy head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, who took over IRISL in August with no prior shipping industry experience.
Dr Saeidi replaced Mohammad Hossein Dajmar, who had been named in the European Union and US list of companies and executives subject to sanctions restrictions.
Speaking to Lloyd’s List in Copenhagen, Dr Saeidi said the Iranian government is now confident that all restrictions will be lifted by January 2016, when Iran will prioritise “an immediate and significant return to shipping”.
While the international shipping operations of Iran’s two largest shipping companies — National Iranian Tanker Co and IRISL — have both been significantly curtailed under EU and US sanctions, Iran’s return to the international shipping market has been made possible under a deal reached this year between Iran and the P5+1 group, comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, France, the UK, China and Russia — plus Germany.
Dr Saeidi’s more detailed vision of Iran’s return to international shipping via a massive fleet modernisation programme builds on a series of often confusing statements issued to the press that simply voiced IRISL’s ambition to “be in the top 10 within five years”.
Major newbuilding contracts
According to Dr Saeidi’s plan, a series of major newbuilding contracts will be signed in a matter of weeks as Iran taps significant funds built up in China, South Korea, Japan and India through trading during sanctions. While much of Iran’s trade was not halted, payments for oil became difficult due to international banking restrictions, so Iran has built up over $120bn in funds internationally that it fully expects to be unfrozen once sanctions are lifted.
Iran will now use these funds to place newbuilding orders, predominantly in China, where Dr Saeidi suggests that existing relationships with China and Chinese banks will allow IRISL to place favourable orders at Chinese yards. South Korean yards are also under consideration as are some secondhand purchases, but the initial focus will be newbuildings in China.
Dr Saeidi will not be drawn on tonnage specifics yet, and has been variously quoted as stating that the company will be ordering panamax vessels, 14,000 teu and even 18,000 teu tonnage to take on the top players. Speaking to Lloyd’s List he suggests that 10,000 teu was more likely to be the target, but he also suggests that final decisions will be made in the coming weeks.
In terms of his priorities, a return to container shipping tops his agenda and he is actively considering the possibilities of alliances and joint ventures to break back into international trades. While he accepts that difficult market conditions will present some immediate issues even with a complete lifting of sanctions restrictions, he remains confident that IRISL can make a dent in the market with the right mix of efficient new tonnage and trade ties with the loose association of the Commonwealth of Independent States in central Asia.
Increasing IRISL’s dry bulk fleet will take a lower priority for Dr Saeidi, at least initially. However, with a targeted increase from 2.5m dwt to 4.5m dwt by 2020 he concedes he has set the company an ambitious schedule.
Responding to questions regarding his lack of shipping experience, Dr Saeidi points out that his economic background as head of the country’s largest pension fund and private investor gives him a solid foundation in understanding international markets. He also points out that his advisers back in Tehran are some of the best in the business.
While both IRISL and NITC had gained international reputations as well-managed companies prior to international sanctions, a series of changes in the management appointed by the state have raised questions of competence within the international shipping community.
Iran replaced the veteran head of the National Iranian Tanker Co, Mohammad Souri, with Hamid Behbahani, a former minister, in 2012 when international pressure first started building on Iran’s customers to reduce purchases of Iranian oil.ShippingWatch: Iranian shipping looking for partners in the West
There is an enormous market waiting for foreign companies once the sanctions against Iran are lifted, says Mohammad Saeidi, chairman of the country’s major liner carrier, Iran Shipping Lines. In an interview with ShippingWatch, he elaborates on these possibilities.
Chairman and managing director of Iran Shipping Lines, Mohammad Saeidi, expects that the last remaining international sanctions against the country shipping industry will be lifted before the end of the year. After which, he says, there will be enormous investment opportunities for foreign port companies and carriers looking to do business in the big nation.
In an interview with ShippingWatch, he discusses the potential and talks about Iran Shipping Lines’ own ambitions following the repeal of the sanctions. Among other things, the carrier is looking to grapple with the biggest container carriers in the world, and is also prepared to invest in new ships and enter joint ventures with foreign partners. Also including port operators.Splash: IRISL readies slew of vessel orders, looking at boxline JVs
Mohammad Saeidi, chairman of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), has told Splash of his company’s massive fleet expansion plans in an exclusive interview with Splash.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Danish Maritime Forum in Copenhagen today, Saeidi said his company was well prepared for the lifting of sanctions against Iran and was in advanced negotiations for a series of ship orders.
“We are facing a new situation with the West. There are lots of opportunities, especially for IRISL,” he said, adding: “We have to develop and increase our facilities and ships.”
On the IRISL shopping list are container vessels, dry bulk ships and general cargo ships.
Saeidi said he expected sanctions to be lifted against Iran by the end of December at the latest. By early 2016 he anticipates all European ports will be open to his company without any limitations.
Saeidi said he was looking at forming joint ventures with many of the top 10 containerlines and has already held a number of discussions with leading liners. Splash has reported in recent months on high level discussions between IRISL and MSC and CMA CGM.
Seperately, Saeidi also told Splash that fellow Iranian shipping line, NITC, the country’s giant tanker company will order a slew of ships soon too. “They are looking right now,” Saeidi said.