Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/10/2014 -- We forecast that Iran will return to economic growth in 2014, with real GDP set to expand by 2.8% following our 2013 estimate of a 3.5% contraction. Container shipping also is set to take tentative steps to recovery. Risks to the upside to both of these forecasts are presented by the growing rapprochement between Iran and the international community. However, the country's shipping sector has been impacted severely by sanctions in recent years - another hit came in 2013 as since the introduction of strengthened US sanctions on July 1, all major shipping lines ceased calling at Iranian ports. At the time of writing, in January 2014, it appeared that shipping lines would be returning to Iran as rapprochement continued. However, this had not been confirmed and there were no indications as to when it was expected to happen.
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Headline Industry Data
- 2014 Port of Bandar Abbas throughput forecast to grow by 3.1%, and average growth of 6.0% to 2018.
- 2018 Port of Bandar Abbas throughput expected to reach 1.992mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) - not enough to match 2011 volumes.
- 2014 total real trade is forecast to return to growth at 2.0%, and average 1.9% to 2018.
Key Industry Trends
Foreign Shipping Lines To Resume Traffic At Ports: Five international shipping lines have affirmed their intention to resume traffic to Iranian ports, according to the vice president for maritime affairs of the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) of Iran, Seyed Ali Estiri (Tasnim) in January. The Geneva nuclear deal and the activation of Shaheed Rajaie Port (Bandar Abbas)'s second operator, together with favourable international conditions, supported the decisions of the major shipping lines, said Estiri on January 26.
Easing Of Sanctions Provides Limited Upside For Exports: Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh's comments in November 2013 that Iran does not expect to raise its oil exports in the immediate term is in line with our view that despite the recent agreement, any significant easing of the oil export ban would only come as part of a broader, final settlement, which would be at a minimum six to 12 months away. However, the deal offers a measure of optimism whereby several international companies are reportedly discussing with Iranian officials a potential return of investments should the sanctions be relieved. In addition, we note that the deal could provide an easing of the ban on European shipping insurance for Iranian oil. This could result in a slight increase of oil exports from Iran to major customers like India and South Korea to at least the level permitted under current the sanctions regime.
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