IRAN has revealed a massive fleet expansion plan it says will help prepare it for an immediate return to the shipping industry after the US-led sanctions are lifted, reports News.Az of Azerbaijan.
Mohammad Saeidi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), said plans call for the purchase of 579,000 TEU of shipping, two million deadweight tons of dry bulkers and 1.6 million tons of tankers.
Mr Saeidi said this fleet will be operational by 2020 and enabling funds will be provided by petrodollars that have been frozen in international banks and are expected to be released once the sanctions are lifted.
He said the IRISL is also discussing the possibility of alliances as part of the planned expansion strategy.
Mr Saeidi said talks are underway with the Shipping Corporation of India regarding the revival of their 38-year-old Irano-Hind joint venture that ended in 2013 due to sanctions on trade.
He said a series of major newbuilding contracts will be signed in a matter of weeks as Iran taps significant funds built up in China, South Korea, Japan and India through trading during sanctions, Lloyd's List reported.
Iran will use these funds to place newbuilding orders, predominantly in China, where Mr Saeidi said existing relationships with China and Chinese banks will allow IRISL to place favourable orders at Chinese yards.
South Korean yards are also under consideration as are some secondhand purchases, but the initial focus will be newbuildings in China.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the IRISL chief said his company will be ordering panamax vessels as well 14,000-TEU and 18,000-TEU vessels to take on the top players.
Mr Saeidi said that vessels with a tonnage of 10,000 TEU are more likely to be the target, but he also suggested that final decisions will be made in the coming weeks.
Source : HKSG.