TOC Middle East to examine the future post-sanctions direction for Iran’s ports
London, 17.09.15 – The door is opening for Iran to re-join global and regional container trades as sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the US and European Union now seem highly likely to be lifted. Potential roadmaps for this important country of nearly 80 million will be debated at TOC Middle East, to be held on 8-9 December at the Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Dubai, UAE.
Emerging from the sanctions era
While not fully compensating for the sluggish growth in global container volumes this year, the easing of sanctions on Iran at least affords an opportunity for shipping lines to reconnect with the second most populous country in the Middle East, and one that needs to rebuild after several years of economic damage.
Of course, caution is needed. The sanctions have created pent-up demand, but they have also restricted the liquidity needed to finance it. The collapse in global oil prices is damaging Iran’s state revenues and cutting incentives to invest in rebuilding its primary export industry. However, it should also be remembered that lifting sanctions could also release up to US$100 billion in Iranian assets frozen abroad.
The country’s maritime trade has been one of the hardest hit during the sanctions period. A recent analysis by Drewry pointed out that the port of Shahid Rajaee (commonly known as Bandar Abbas) – which accounts for some 90% of all Iran’s container handling – saw volumes decline sharply.
Pre-sanctions, Bandar Abbas container throughput grew at an annualised rate of 13% from 2005-6 to 2011-12 (adjusted for the Iranian calendar year starting 21 March) to reach a record 2.6 million TEU just before sanctions started to bite. But following the carrier exodus volumes at the port fell by 18% in 2012-13 and 19% in 2013-14 before staging a modest recovery in 2014-15.
However, with news that sanctions look to be lifted, the past 3 months alone have seen a number of global carriers, including Evergreen, HMM, Hanjin, Yang Ming, UASC, CSCL and CMA CGM, adding Bander Abbas to several Asia-Middle East port rotations.
In the port sector, DP World – host port for TOC Middle East – is reportedly interested in talking to Iranian authorities about developing one or more terminals in the country, and Contship Italia Spa. has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sina Port & Marine Company (SPMCO), with a view to exchanging experience and know-how on various aspects of port operations and logistics management.
At TOC Middle East 2015, two senior Iranian port executives have already confirmed to discuss the way forward for the country’s maritime trade. Behzad Alsafi, Senior Expert, Port & Maritime Organization of Iran, Bandar Abbas Port Authority, and Majid Asadi, Technology Management Adviser, Sina Port and Marine Company (SPMCO), will outline the current situation of Iranian ports and what needs to be done to integrate them fully back into regional logistics networks.
New venue and format
TOC Middle East’s new venue is the 5 star airport hotel Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre. Hosting the event in a hotel offers all participants a greater platform for networking and contact building. This year, TOC Middle East is also supporting the Lloyd’s List Middle East & Indian Subcontinent Awards, taking place in the Armani Hotel Dubai, straight after TOC Middle East on Wednesday 9 December.
TOC Middle East 2015
Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre
About TOC Worldwide
For 40 years, TOC Worldwide has provided the market-leading conference and exhibition forums for the global port and terminal industries and their customers. With a change of name to TOC Container Supply Chain, the TOC event portfolio is now evolving fast to attract a wider audience of container supply chain professionals.
Taking place each year in the world’s four key shipping hubs – Europe, Middle East, Americas and Asia – each TOC is now a complete container supply chain event for its region, bringing together cargo owners, logistics providers, carriers, ports, terminals and other key members of the container supply chain to learn, debate, network and foster new business solutions.
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