French firm CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container shipping operator, signed a significant cooperation agreement Thursday with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), according to Maritime Executive.
The move comes as many European companies – maritime and otherwise – seek to expand their business ties to the newly reopened Iranian market in the post-nuclear-sanctions era. The agreement, signed during a goodwill visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, covers capacity sharing, joint route operations, and cooperation in using port terminals, the French government said.
CMA CGM and Evergreen of Taiwan were the first to restart direct service to Iran last August; MSC restarted port calls in late December, and United Arab Shipping Company resumed business with Iran in January. Maersk, the world's largest container shipping operator, has said that it is still examining service to Iran.
CMA CGM now operates three direct routes to Iran, linking the country to Africa, Asian and India. It also offers indirect services with transhipments via the United Arab Emirates.
“The progressive lifting of sanctions should bring strong growth in trade between Iran and the rest of the world. This agreement opens new opportunities for CMA CGM to expand in this region,” the firm said in a statement.
IRISL is Iran's largest containerized cargo carrier, and along with other state-owned maritime firms like the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), it has been removed from sanctions lists related to Iran's nuclear program.
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