DP World is considering investments on Iran’s north and south coasts, according to a flurry of recent news reoprts following the visit of DP World Chairman, Sultan bin Sulayem, to Iran in early July.
Iran’s Press TV said bin Sulayem visited Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea, Chabahar on the Sea of Oman, and Qeshm Island, near Bandar Abbas, in the Persian Gulf, two weeks before the landmark nuclear accord was struck on 14 July.
“We are very interested in the Iranian market and we believe it has great potential,” he said.
DP World is eyeing ways in which its flagship port, Jebel Ali, can benefit from the overland route to Asia via Iran. “Iran has a good land bridge of rail that will connect the Silk Route from China to Europe,” he was quoted as saying. “With our ports in the Gulf, we need to go into Iran.”
Turning Chabahar into a deep-water port is central plank in India’s effort to cut the distance of trade routes to Central Asia, Russia and Europe by 40%, from current resort to the Suez Canal, while at the same time circumventing Pakistan, and enabling India to compete more effectively with China. The two countries signed an agreement to that effect in 2002.
“The position we have is much the same as before,” a DP World spokesman told Seatrade Maritime News. “We expect the easing of sanctions to create opportunities for the region and beyond and any actions that lead to an increase in trade flow are likely to benefit Jebel Ali given its position as the regional hub.
“Regarding whether or not we are assessing new opportunities [in Iran], we constantly explore opportunities around the world. We don’t comment specifically on any unless there is something to announce.”
News reports said Mediterranean Shipping Company ceo, Diego Aponte, also visited Iran in late July to meet with Mohammad-Hossein Dajmar, md of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), in Teheran.
Security analysts say GCC countries are keen to do business in Iran, despite the growing ‘cold war’ between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the proxy wars being fought by Iran in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and the increased danger of Sunni-Shia violence these conflicts entail.
In the late nineteenth century, Lingah Port in Iran was the dominant port in the Gulf. Dubai’s rise was only made possible by the dramatic increase in taxes at the port of Lingah by the Persian government, which caused traders to ultimately abandon it in favour of the hitherto unknown emirate.
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