THE Port of Hamburg is rapidly normalising maritime relations with Iran in general and with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in particular.
Germany has been Iran's largest trading partner in the West. Hamburg, in particular, where so many Iranians have settled, has had very close relations with firms and state organisations in Iran.
The rapprochement started with the call of the 2,478-TEU Azargoun in March as IRISL reopened its regular liner service "European Container Line" (ECL) between Northern Europe and ports in the Persian Gulf following its closure in mid-2010 on account of nuclear sanctions.
The new service will be operating with 2,500-TEU ships, calling at Hamburg and Antwerp, along with Genoa, Istanbul, Port Said and Bandar Abbas.
In addition, the geared 28,164-dwt Sevgi will be resuming the conventional liner service with multi-purpose tonnage between Northern Europe and the Persian Gulf.
IRISL's liner services will be represented in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands by the firm currently being jointly set up by Peter W Lampke GmbH & Co KG (PWL) and IRISL (Europe) GmbH, namely IRISL Agency (North) GmbH, based in Hamburg and with branches in Antwerp and Rotterdam.
Since the restricted opportunities for trading of recent years have generated immense pent-up demand for investment goods for the oil, automotive, chemical and energy sectors, German industrial companies, especially, anticipate an early revival in business activity.
Before sanctions, the main imports via Hamburg were barley, potash fertilisers, feedstuffs and machinery. As exports from Iran, fresh and tinned fruit, yarns, other textiles, rubber and vegetables topped the list in the Port of Hamburg.
Source : HKSG.