The state run shipping company Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), recently made headway with its new general cargo service by making its first call at Terminal C. Steinweg in Hamburg.
The new general cargo service will call monthly at Hamburg as the only port in Germany, transporting conventional general cargo in addition to containers. The multi-purpose vessels deployed are equipped with shipboard cranes. Apart from Iranian ports, the new service linking ports on the Persian Gulf with others in Northern Europe will call at additional ports in the Middle East when required.
For C. Steinweg’s Süd-West Terminal in Hamburg, this was a very special occasion, since it was here that the last previous clearance of one of IRISL’s conventional vessels had taken place in May 2010. In recent years, international trade sanctions limited Iran to importing goods not affected by export restrictions. Calls by the Iranian state shipping company’s vessels in European ports were not permitted. Thanks to the resumption of foreign trade activities with Iran, especially in the export area, people at C. Steinweg are expecting an initially gradual, later substantial increase in seaborne cargo throughput with Iran and are looking forward to the return of IRISL’s conventional liner service on the Elbe.
Germany has traditionally been Iran’s largest Western trading partner, with many Iranians having settled in Hamburg. Before sanctions, Iran’s imports via Hamburg were mainly of grain, potash fertilizers, foodstuffs, and machinery. Exports arriving in the Port of Hamburg from Iran were mainly fresh and tinned fruit, cotton and other threads, rubber and vegetables. C. Steinweg’s Süd-West Terminal, which possesses special equipment for handling especially bulky and heavy cargoes, will be loading machinery and plant for the Iranian oil, gas and mining sectors on the new conventional liner service.
The IRISL shipping company has operated for several decades regular container and conventional liner services with 170 of its own ships. In its East Asia service, for example, IRISL deploys vessels with a capacity of 6,500 TEU. Additional liner services with SE Asia are operated by 2,200-2,500 TEU ships. IRISL also offers container services from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean and East Africa.