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ITE Transport and Logistics

Profiling Iran’s leading shipping companies

Previously a major player in regional and international maritime trade, Iran is quickly finding its feet again in the world of sea-based logistics. The repealing of major international economic sanctions by the UN has reinvigorated Iran’s shipping sector.
So who are the major players? ITE Transport & Logistics has put together this useful guide to Iran’s major shipping companies to give you a flavour of operational habits and scale of the biggest Iranian maritime transportation firms.
IRISIL Shipping Lines
A multitude of shipping companies operate underneath the banner of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) Group. As Iran’s national maritime carrier, IRISIL operates out of every major Iranian port and employs a sizeable fleet – upwards of 154 vessels with a total deadweight tonnage of over 5.4 million tonnes collectively. 
IRISIL offers the full complement of transportation service. Six operational container service lines are in operation, offering 91,000 TEU capacity across 24 cargo vessels. In total, IRISIL boasts the availability of 240,000 TEUs. The carrier’s operations are truly international, with lines covering East Asian waters, the Mediterranean, the Indian ocean and the Persian Gulf. 
Alphaliner ranked IRISL 22nd in its overall classification in May 2016, meaning the company is considered one of the biggest shipping lines operating in the world today. According to reports from JOC.com, IRISL is looking expand its container fleet with the addition of three mega ships capable of handling an additional 14,500 TEUs. Each ship is likely to cost between $120 to $130 million.
National Iranian Tanker Company
The National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) is a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company. Ranking as the fourth largest tanker company in the world, with a fleet of 42 super tankers, the NITC is one of the world’s foremost oil shipping lines.
Pre-sanctions, the NITC operated on revenues of around $1.5 billion. While its 2008 fleet numbered 28 supertankers, NITC has subsequently expanded to reach the fleet size mentioned above. Each super tanker is capable of carrying up to 2,000,000 barrels of oil. 
Fifteen ships in the NITC fleet have also been converted to handle liquid petroleum gas cargoes. 
In October 2015, prior to the West’s repealing of economic sanctions, NTIC entered into negotiations with several major maritime insurance brokers, according the Mehr news agency, in order to provide coverage for its fleet. Mehr’s report failed to specify which firms were in negotiations with NITC but noted the two largest were Swedish and British insurers. 
Smaller players
The above two are the largest of Iran’s shipping companies, splitting as they do freight and oil cargo operations. The following are all subsidiaries of IRSIL. By filling key niches, these smaller companies allow for a diversified approach towards Iran’s maritime freight operations. 
• Valfajr Shipping Co. – Operates around the Persian Gulf, internal Iranian islands, Oman Sea and the northern Indian Ocean. Specialises in carrying perishable cargo such as fruits and vegetables.
• Khazar Sea Shipping lines Co. – Owns 16 cargo vessels. Operates mainly in the Caspian Sea on Iran’s north coast. As such, Khazar predominantly transports cargo to Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan as well as Iran’s northern ports.
• Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Line – Falling firmly under IRSIL’s umbrella, Hafez Darya Arya covers shipping routes across the world, including China, the Mediterranean and South America, as a supplement to IRISIL’s activities.
There are over 70 firms in Iran offering sea-based transportation services, or services related to this sector, which can be viewed here
As 2016 draws to a close, expect further privatisation to take a further hold on Iran’s shipping sector. This will likely either a) increase the number of companies operating in the industry and/or b) an expansion in funding for the already established national players.


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