Maersk stops Iran shipping service

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Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, has stopped port calls to Iran amid tightening Western sanctions, company’s spokeswoman announced on Tuesday.

“Maersk Line has ceased to call in Iran,” a spokeswoman for the unit of Danish group A.P. Moller-Maersk said.

“This is a pragmatic decision based on an assessment of balancing the benefits of doing limited business in Iran against the risk of damaging business opportunities elsewhere particularly the US,” she added.

The blacklisting of major Iranian port operator Tidewater Middle East Co by US, which operates seven terminals in Iran including the biggest container port Bandar Abbas, led to Maersk Line’s suspension of operations at several ports.

“Maersk Line ceased its acceptance to all other ports than Bushehr in 2011,” the spokeswoman said, referring to Iran’s small northern container port. “The discontinuation of services to and from Bushehr unfortunately reflects the difficulties servicing Iran as a whole.”

“To date, Maersk Line’s business in Iran has involved transporting foodstuffs and other goods, for example vehicles, for the benefit of the general civilian population. It is with regret that it is ceasing these activities,” the spokeswoman said.

“Maersk Line will maintain a dormant business entity in Iran and will look to resume business should the sanctions regime be eased.”

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