Maersk ends Iran service

Image source: Maersk Line.Image source: Maersk Line.Container shipping company, Maersk Line, has ended all port calls to Iran to avoid damaging business with Western countries, particularly the US

The move by Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, to cease its one remaining Iranian port call, comes as Western sanctions continue to increase the pressure on Iran.

The Islamic republic relies on such shipments for food and consumer goods. These items are not subject to the strict sanctions but many Western companies are cutting their ties with Iran to preserve goodwill with their business partners elsewhere in the world, according to Reuters.

"Maersk Line has ceased to call in Iran," a spokeswoman for 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.

"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.

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

The spokeswoman added that Maersk Line halted loading cargo bound for the northern Iranian container port of Bushehr on September 30 and stopped loading outbound cargo from Bushehr on September 24.

"Maersk Line ceased its acceptance to all other ports than Bushehr in 2011," the spokeswoman said. "The discontinuation of services to and from Bushehr unfortunately reflects the difficulties servicing Iran as a whole."

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