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India hint at Irano Shipping Company revival

India hint at Irano Shipping Company revival
State-owned Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) has said it wants to revive its joint venture with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) following the easing of international sanctions on Iran.

Irano Hind Shipping Company was founded in 1974 but was reportedly dissolved in 2012 as trade flows stalled following years of sanctions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

However, SCI Chairman B. B. Sinha has been quoted as saying the easing of restrictions on Tehran, following the January 16 implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has opened the way for the resuscitation of Irano Hind Shipping Co.

Sinha said any revival would potentially offer SCI access to Central Asian markets such as Kazakhstan, a market where IRISL is already strong. SCI is reportedly considering the operation of three bulk carriers and an oil tanker owned by the joint venture of which IRISL held a 51% stake and SCI the other 49%.

“We don’t want this company to just die out,” Sinha said in an interview run by Bloomberg. “The other partner, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, has got great presence in the Caspian Sea.”

India’s government holds a 64% stake in SCI which owns and operates about one-third of India’s tonnage and has interests in most areas of shipping. SCI resumed crude shipments from Iran in July after a hiatus of four years.

IRISL was established in 1967 and reportedly operates a fleet of 155 vessels including 48 boxships with the capacity of 100,580 teu, making it the 21st ranked container line globally according to analyst Alphaliner.

The JCPOA agreement was signed last July, inked by Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany.