Iran Says it Will Launch Container Shipping to Brazil

Iran container shipping to Brazil
IRISL is reportedly planning direct container service between Iran and Brazil (file photo)

Published Apr 11, 2023 3:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

Media reports from Iran indicate that the country’s shipping interest, Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), is planning to start a direct container service between Iran and Brazil as the Iranian government seeks to expand its trade ties. The reports are referencing a strong and growing trade relationship between the two countries.

Iran’s Press TV is citing a businessman who it says has knowledge of the matter. Hamed Ghaderi, a member of the Iran-Brazil Joint Chamber of Commerce, said on Monday Press TV reports that the launch of a direct shipping route between Iran and Brazil will “be a major positive development in trade ties between the two countries.”

As a first step to developing the shipping service, Ghaderi is reporting that IRISL will open an office in Brazil. “Given the correspondences and efforts carried out, we hope this could happen in July,” Ghaderi said.

The Iranian media is citing the development as a similar step to that taken recently by IRISL with both Russia and India to build trade ties. They are reporting that the state-run company is establishing a route from Russia and on to India as part of programs to activate the International North–South Transport Corridor. Russian officials in the Astrakhan region on the northern side of the Caspian Sea are reporting that a container terminal will be opened in the region to support the shipping of Russian goods to Iran and on to India. One of the first cargoes is expected to be Belarus’ potash for Iran and India.

Iran reports it has been working to build its trade with Brazil and the launch of the new shipping service will support the effort to diversify the shipping operation and exports beyond petroleum and petrochemicals. Iran, they report is already providing urea nitrogen fertilizer shipments used by Brazil’s agriculture sector in addition to petroleum products. Brazilian exports to Iran reportedly include beef and corn. 

Brazilian authorities have expressed their support for expanding the trade promising to aid with the efforts. Iranian media says in 2021, Brazil already exported nearly $2 billion in goods to Iran.

IRISL remains under U.S. sanctions. In 2010, the U.S. listed Hafiz Darya Shipping Co. as a front company for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) saying the companies were using containerized shipping operations since 2009 for illegal purposes. The Trump administration listed IRISL saying it was transporting sanctioned missile-related and proliferation-related military cargo for Iran’s government. They also accused IRISL of using falsified documents and other deceptive tactics to secretly ship equipment related to Iran’s ballistic missile program.