MSC halts Iran services as sanctions start to bite


MSC has confirmed that it has ceased Iranian services following the US decision to withdraw from the international nuclear agreement with Iran.

In a statement issued on its website on Wednesday, the container line said it was no longer “accepting bookings for shipments originating from Iran, or destined to Iran”.

The line will, however, continue to carry “certain legally acceptable cargoes during the wind-down period, notably for importation of foodstuffs”.

MSC had serviced Iran via third-party feeder ships from transhipment hubs in Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.

Like many other shipping lines, including Maersk Line, MSC had put its Iran business under review following the decision by the United States to re-impose sanctions on Tehran.

While the imposition of sanctions comes with a wind-down period of between 90 to 180 days before they take effect, most shipping companies are reviewing Iran links and many more are expected to follow MSC’s example imminently.

Separately, Maersk Line said it had the situation under review. On Tuesday, product tanker operator Torm said it had already stopped taking new orders in Iran.

In its statement to clients, MSC said: “The US government has outlined a wind-down period in the coming months and we will do our utmost to collaborate with you to conclude this period with the minimum disruption to your business and to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience.”