Chinese Firm Takes Over Four Iranian ULCVs Ahead of Sanctions

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Published Oct 3, 2018 8:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

When Western sanctions on Iran's nuclear program were loosened, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) ordered four 14,500 TEU ultra large container vessels from Hyundai Heavy Industries for delivery in 2018. However, before the vessels could enter operation, the Trump administration announced that it would reimpose sanctions on all transactions with Iran's maritime sector (and most areas of the Iranian economy), throwing the newbuildings' futures into doubt. Under the terms of American sanctions, shippers will not be able to make payments for IRISL's services without risking penalties from the U.S. Treasury Department.

IRISL appears to have resolved this issue by transferring the ownership of these four new ULCVs to a business partner in China, Reach Holding Group of Shanghai. Reach is a diversified logistics business with activities in trading, NVOCC services and hotel management, among other areas, and it launched a Tehran-based joint venture with IRISL last year.

It appears to have set up a new shipping line using IRISL's new container vessels: the ships are now named Tenreach, Fanreach, Goodreach and Canreach, and they will operate on a single rotation serving East Asian and Southeast Asian markets. The initial route schedule shows that they will not call in Iran. 

On Wednesday, Canreach was getting under way off Zhoushan, while Goodreach and Fanreach were at anchor in the same area. Tenreach is believed to be on its inaugural sailing, and was last observed by shoreside AIS on October 2 at the Zhoushan anchorage. 

These four boxships were previously under the control of a Turkish firm, Istanbul Denizcilik, also known as Istanbul Shipping. Equasis records indicate that the Canreach (ex name Hamoun) was managed by Istanbul beginning in August 2018. The same pattern is recorded for the Goodreach (ex name Radin), Fanreach (ex name Barzin) and Tenreach (ex name Rayen).

Most of Istanbul's other vessels are smaller geared cargo ships. Three - the Seren, Sevgi, and Pacific Victor - used to be owned by IRISL. One more, the Pacific Harmony, features in recent advertising by IRISL's general cargo division, Sapid Shipping.