Monday, July 11, 2011

Transportation Giant Maersk Leaves Iran

The Washington Post reported today that on 30 June, the Danish shipping giant Maersk pulled out of Iran’s three largest ports only a week after the US had declared the ports’ operator to be an arm of the IRGC. The Post reported that other shipping companies followed suit, forcing Iran scrambling to find alternative ways for its large volume of imports, including food and other critical supplies.

In the past year, the US and European sanctions have targeted Iran’s ability to access the global transportation, banking and insurance sectors. While these sanctions, along with older sets of sanctions imposed against the country, have not produced the intended result, namely a change in Iran’s nuclear policies and programs, but these newer targeted sanctions appear to affect the country’s economy in critical areas of transportation, at a time that Iran is importing unprecedented amounts of food, and banking, causing hardship for the key Iranian industries, including the all-important oil industry.

File Photo: the Regina Maersk /


Anonymous said...

Iran's food production and exports are increasing and imports are decreasing. Yet you're saying the opposite.

Misinformation or disinformation?

Nader Uskowi said...

Iran's food production and exports are indeed increasing but so are its imports. The country is an exporter of saffron, pistachio, and fresh fruits, and is an importer of wheat, rice, sugar, and tea, to mention the most important items for both sides. And for both imports and exports, Iran has transportation needs. And the boycott of major transportation companies will undoubtedly impact Iranian imports, and, yes, exports. That is the subject of this post.

Anonymous said...

Thank the Israeli lobby for this.

Anonymous said...

Iran is not an importer of Wheat, but an importer of rice, sugar and tea.

Also, Iran is fully capable of building and buying its own transportation ships. The large transportation ships it is currently renting are not used to import vital supplies like foods.

Call me an optomist, but i don't see this as a bad thing. We saw that with the sanction on petrol, Iran invested more on refineries, something it should have done ages ago.

With sanctions on the banking industry aimed to hurt the economy, the government removed subsidies.

Now with sanctions on shipping, we'll see investment in insurance companies and ship building companies.

Also don't forget, the western companies are not the only companies in the world, they'll easily be replaced by more than willing companies. Also these sanctions are not new, but an extension of already existing ones and Iran has always managed to get passed them.

from the NYT:

"Formed mostly after the United States blacklisted Irisl and all of its ships in 2008, as confederates of Iran’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, the corporations often have English names like System Wise and Great Method, which seem to mock American resolve."

Anonymous said...

European countries cats Americans. They are losing millions of euros all for giving the buttocks to the U.S. I think we still do not know the dilemma, "business is business"
how pathetic is the European Union an disgust me fallen very low.

Anonymous said...

As the EU sinks further into debt and economic irrelevance, the US keeps pressuring and taking business opportunities away from them thereby restricting them from making money.

Others will fill in the's just business.Simple!

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 2:15 PM ,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Optimism is good, I share your sentiment that the people of Iran can and will endure hardship and I believe they eventually find a way to regulate their political affairs in such a way as to establish normal relations with both the West and the East, that’s the logical way ahead, expected from a mature nation like Iran (BTW, if you have not done it yet, please read our own Amir Taheri’s post that appeared last Friday entitled, “Trade sanctioning a Nation of Traders,” to see Iranian ingenuity at work).

But analysis cannot be based on optimism. You need to be realist and call things the way you see them, not the way you like to see them. Maersk quitting Iranian ports is indeed a major blow. I am sure, or at least I hope, that the Iranian leadership does not think the way you do, and do not take such development lightly, hoping for the best, ensha’allah. If I were them, and I believe they do exactly that, I would be alarmed and start looking for alternatives. Back to analysis, its worst enemy is sloganeering. Slogans are for feeling good purpose, not for tackling problems and offering solutions. And acting on optimism alone has the same effect.

Anonymous said...

It is a minor blow though, it is not like they are the only company there.

But the fact that i am taking it lightly is exactly because i know the government of Iran has contingency plans in place.

The only reason i am saying it is not a big deal is because Iran has tons of experience in going past stricter sanctions.

If one company doesn't ship Iranian goods, another one will.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. I am sure Mr Amir Taheri will write a Column soon telling us that the merchants in the bazar are also very good swimmers and will not be affected by this new turn of events.
How irrational can you be when you think a country of 75 million people can resist all of this and has the infinite resources to produce, manufacture, invest in every single area without the need for any cooperation of all the western countries. Yes it is possible to survive as a nation but not to prosper and have a future as the history of the past 32 years clearly demonstrates.
Only a madman (Fuhrer/ supreme leader!) will try to take on this.

Anonymous said...

While this may be a "major blow" as some put it on this blog. How's it any different from all the other punitive sanctions the US has placed over the past 30+ years?

I mean, in the large scheme of things, how does it change Iran's policies?

And also, could someone please tell us how much it costs the US to initiate and maintain these sanctions. Because I don't believe these companies do it out of love or respect for US policies.

Sanctions against Iran's always a failure whichever way you look at it. For anti-Iran camp,sanctions are hurting because it's making doing business difficult for Iran. For the pro-Iran camp, the desired effect or the reasons why the US sanctions has failed is that it hasn't altered Iran's policies or position and hasn't cause the people to rise against the government but rather made Iran more determined and self sufficient.

So whichever way you look at it, it's a win-win or lose-lose for both parties involved.

Amir Taheri said...

Yes thanks for your suggestion, now I have the topic for next weeks column, "The Bazaari Swimming Team manages to cross the Persian Gulf in 10 mins"...

Stay tuned!

Nader Uskowi said...

Sanctions have failed so far because they have not induced Iran to change its uranium enrichment policies. But that does not mean the sanctions have been ineffective regarding Iran’s economy. A commentator has asked how the new sanctions are any different from the older ones. Well, the US, like Iran, adjusts its policies and actions as they develop. The new sanctions are targeted sanctions aiming to disrupt Iran’s ability to use transportation, banking and insurance services at global level, all dominated by western companies. As such they appear to have much greater effect on the country’s economy.

As I have said in previous comments, the win-win situation if for Iran and the West to find ways to normalize their relationship. For a mature nation like Iran it is logical, and indeed imperative, to have normal relations with both the West and the East. Sanctions, as effective as they become, and fighting sanctions, again as effective they could get, will not be in the best interests of Iran or the West.

Anonymous said...

How is lamenting the departure of a single shipping company that can easily be replaced "realist?" In fact by overestimating the impact this will have you are engaging in exaggeration that does not reflect reality. The reality is that no one shipping company is irreplaceable. Since their are goods to be moved, other companies, either from nations not following the sanctions or from Iran itself will replace them. I would be curious to see what your reasoning is for this. The fact is that Iranian trade and exports have been increasing at an unprecedented rate. Nothing about the loss of a few ships from one shipping line is going to change this.

And finally, judging from the fact that the IMF itself has acknowledged that rapid growth has continued in Iran, while it has not in those developed nations that are sanctioning it, the sanctions have indeed been completely ineffective.

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments are pretty realistic but somehow missed the key point: IT IS US UNDER AIPAC/ZIONIST CONTROL THAT PUT THE SANCTIONS ON IRAN and not the other way around. The prime reason for sanctions was that Iran was not playing ball according to the Zionist regional playbook and refused to roll over and play dead even after 8 years of imposed war, and hence earned instant animosity of the both the senior and junior shattans.

The escalating sanctions regime, as Nader mentions have been "adjusted" or tweaked ever since 1979. Iran was under total weapons embargo during the Jange Tahmili while the US, EU and USSR were selling crazy Saddam everything short of nukes. Heck, the French were even building Osirak nuclear plant until Major Abbas Dowran put a hole in its dome with a maverick.

The whole US/Zionist rationale behind the ever escalating sanctions regime is to overthrow the Islamic Revolution and keep Iran a weak and isolated nation. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the US has been increasing these sanctions to just about every possible area under the guise of the "nuclear issue".

The Iranian nuclear program is just an umbrella for the economic war being waged against it. Fortunately for Iran, it has resourceful hard working people, and on the whole pretty good governance that that blunted the full impact of the economic war. Iran's natural resources, namely OIL & GAS and huge landmass with many transit access points have also been a prime economic defence mechanism, along with the power shift to Asia and US irreversible decline and quamire in the region.

The sanctions have infact helped Iran advance its domestic production capability and product substitution, as well as diversify imports. The removal of one Danish shipping company is hardly going to make a difference as Iranian trade routes and means of transportation are pretty diversified. Somehow, this blog missed the recent opening of the new railroad to central Asia, inaugurated by Ahmadinejad last week.

One more FACTUAL correction: IRAN EXPORTS WHEAT and most staples. Iranian yield per acre is one of the highest in the world. Even according to the FAO, Iran is exporting 4 million tons of wheat annually and this is increasing.

Iran plans to export up to 4 million tons of wheat in the current calendar year (to end March 19, 2012), the deputy commerce minister said in Tehran on Saturday.Iran was a net importer of wheat in recent years. By developing domestic production of wheat and also implementing the Subsidy Reform Plan, the country's consumption of wheat fell around 30percent, President Mahmoud Ahmdinejad said last week.

I believe there is a propensity to underestimate Iran and its capabilities. Let's keep in mind that it is large nation of 75 million plus with huge natural resources reserves and potential at time when economic and geo-strategic power is consolidating in Asia and Iran is perfectly poised to tap into this opportunity.

By any objective measure, "sanctioning" a country with a high-demand life sustaining commodity like OIL is impossible if not insane. The US itself is hardly in a enviable economic or stratgic position to cause much disruption to Iranian economy. All these pathetic punitive measures have done so far is to enhance Iranian innovation and ingenuity.

A few months ago the Zionist western media was gloating with delusional wishful thinking that sanctions on refined petroleum products will somehow bring Iran to its knees. However, the opposite happened, as Iran astutely removed gasoline subsidies and increased its refining capability by 200% and today exports gasoline and jet fuel to 5 nations.

KHOD KAFEI (self-sufficiency) is not a slogan but a reality.

Mark Pyruz said...

Anon, not sure if Maj. Dowran was part of the airstrike on Osirak. But the IRIAF hit the nearby lab facilities and not the dome. And the ordnance dropped were Mk 82 snake eye bombs.

Anonymous said...

@ Mark. Thanks for the informed comment. I was not sure either, but from friends in the IRIAF had heard both accounts regarding the indomitable Major Dowran who participated in most of the IRIAF's initial offensive airstrikes and conducted a record number of sorties. I also recall a French technician or more were killed in the IRIAF strike and the rest were later withdrawn. But anyway, the point being that these duplicitious western nations now pestering Iran were willing to supply an insane murdereous thug like Saddam with nuclear, biological and chemical technologies. The US under the guise of "agricultural credits" even supplied dual-use Bell helicopters which Saddam converted into gunships.

The basic fact is that these sanctions are part of a multi-pronged, albeit FAILING US/Zionist economic war on Iran.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to deliver from Europe.. Iran is shifting Eastwards..

Changing business tactics is nothing political.. only business

Anonymous said...

Goodbye MAERSK, half a dozen Asian company waits to step his place.