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Shipping Corp of India in talks to revive JV with Iranian giant

 PTI |  2016-09-07 00:42:34.0  |  New Delhi

The largest domestic shipliner, Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), on Tuesday said it has held discussions for reviving the joint venture with Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

It said the discussions were held post lifting of the sanctions against the Islamic nation. "SCI and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), shareholders in the JV, have held discussions about feasibility of revival of operations by the JV, in view of lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iran," it said in a regulatory filing to BSE.

The four-decade old JV has been lying dormant. SCI said, "Pursuant to the joint comprehensive plan of action agreement between Iran and 5+1 group of countries, sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted in December 2015." Following the agreement, the UN and the EU have lifted the sanctions imposed on Iran. "The US has also relaxed the secondary sanctions, but the primary sanctions still remain in force," it said. Earlier, SCI after a four-year hiatus has decided to resume sailing to Iran to ferry transport crude oil from the Persian Gulf nation for state refiners.

The premier shipping line, which owns and operates around one-third of the Indian tonnage and services both national and international trades, stopped sailing to Iran in 2012 as insurance cover for oil and cargo could not be obtained in the wake of sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear programme. After lifting of sanctions in January, International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs, which insures the tanker market, has been able to obtain cover from some markets, an official said.
The largest domestic shipliner has a fleet of 69 vessels of which 17 are bulk carriers, 16 crude oil tankers and 14 product tankers and is planning expansion of its fleet.

A parliamentary panel has recently recommended that SCI buy fuel-efficient ships, replacing the old stock. "If the international market situations are viable, they may go for purchasing new fuel-efficient vessels in place of the old ones," the parliamentary standing committee on transport, headed by MP Kanwar Deep Singh, has said. 

SCI was established in 1961 through amalgamation of Eastern Shipping Corporation and Western Shipping Corporation. It owns and operates around one-third of the Indian tonnage and has operating interests in practically all areas of the shipping business and servicing. Apart from being the largest shipping company in India, SCI exclusively operates in break-bulk, international container, liquid/dry bulk, offshore and passenger services. 

Tehran supports ‘any decision’ to stabilise oil market: minister
Iran's oil minister said on Tuesday that the Islamic republic supports "any decision" to stabilise the global oil market and that $50-60 per barrel is the desired price for most OPEC members. "Iran supports any decision by oil producers to return stability to oil markets. The desired price for most OPEC members for oil is between 50 and 60 dollars," said Bijan Zanganeh, according to the ministry's Shana news agency. He was speaking after a meeting with OPEC secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo in Tehran. Zanganeh said $55 per barrel "brings desired, economic and beneficial oil production revenue for OPEC members, while their competitors won't be able to increase production." 

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