Top container shipping lines reviewing Iran operations

Maersk Line and MSC are reviewing their Iran operations after US President Donald Trump scrapped the Iranian nuclear deal. (Reuters)
Updated 11 May 2018
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Top container shipping lines reviewing Iran operations

  • Maersk and MSC review Iran operations
  • MSC already stops taking bookings for some cargoes

The world’s top two container shipping groups Maersk Line and MSC are reviewing their Iran operations after the US withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran.
The 2015 agreement, worked out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran, lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program.
US President Donald Trump also instructed his administration to re-impose US sanctions after a winding down period.
“MSC is reviewing its services, operations and business relationships to understand if any are impacted and will comply with the timetable set out by the US government,” the private Swiss-headquartered group said in a statement on Friday.
MSC suspended services between 2012 and 2014 and when they were resumed the line used small, regional third-party feeder ships to carry cargo between Iran and MSC’s transshipment hub at Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.
A shipping source said MSC had already stopped taking bookings for certain cargoes that would be impacted by the sanctions program.
The US Treasury said this week Washington was imposing sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes.
Denmark’s Maersk Line said separately it had ceased acceptance of the specific cargoes listed by the US Treasury this week.
“Our presence in Iran is limited. We will monitor the developments to assess any impact on our activities,” Maersk Line added.
The group also used feeder services to Iran from Jebel Ali.
Iran relies on seaborne trade for both imports as well as for sales of its goods apart from oil and the country had struggled with logistical difficulties before international sanctions were lifted in 2016.
Iran’s port operators and shipping sectors, including top cargo operator the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and oil tanker group NITC, will once again be blacklisted on Nov. 4 by Washington.
The US will separately re-impose sanctions on the provision of insurance and reinsurance, which had been another challenge for Iran in the past.
Every ship requires various insurance cover to allow for journeys at sea.
“The decision is expected to have significant implications for maritime trade with Iran and the insurance of such trade,” said Nigel Carden, deputy chairman for Thomas Miller, the manager of ship insurer UK P&I Club.
Carden said a full assessment would only be possible once there was more clarity, and urged caution before entering into any new Iran related cargo bookings.
Lloyd’s of London said it was “currently reviewing the “implications for the Lloyd’s (insurance) market.”
Europe’s heavyweight economies took steps on Friday to safeguard their commercial and political interests in Iran.


Dubai schools allowed to raise fees after last year’s freeze hit GEMS listing

Updated 26 March 2019
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Dubai schools allowed to raise fees after last year’s freeze hit GEMS listing

  • UAE authorities fixed the fees in hopes of stimulating the economy
  • The maximum increase for next year will be 2.07 percent for 90 percent of the schools

DUBAI: Dubai will allow a modest increase in school fees for the majority of students in the 2019-2020 academic year, the government said, after last year’s freeze triggered a delay in the London listing of a major school operator.
The move is likely to provide some reprieve for private investors such as private equity firms, who own most of the schools in the country, a Gulf Arab state that acts as a Middle East hub for international companies.
Last year’s move to freeze Dubai school had hit the initial public offering of Blackstone-backed, Middle East-focused education company GEMS, Reuters had reported, citing sources. The London listing was delayed after authorities in Dubai unexpectedly decided to freeze tuition fees, meaning the company’s financial forecasts had to be adjusted, they said.
Dubai’s move last year to freeze school fees came amid a number of other measures to cut costs in a bid to stimulate the economy that has been hurt by a downturn in property prices.
The Dubai government said it will allow an increase in school fees for 90 percent of students by a maximum 2.07 percent from the 2019-2020 academic year.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the crown prince and son of Dubai’s ruler, approved the new framework where the Dubai School Inspection Bureau will assess the quality of education in each school against its index and rank them accordingly.
Schools in which the quality of education is declining according to the government’s index will not be allowed to increase their fees.
Only 10 percent of the students in Dubai will have their fees increased by more than 2.07 percent, it said.