Iran expands shipping, trade activity in North Africa
A ship operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) has docked and unloaded at a port in Libya amid Iran’s efforts to increase its export activity in Africa.
IRISL’s deputy for marketing Amir Bayat said on Thursday that the Iranian ship that left Libya earlier in the day was the second to dock in the North African country in less than two months.
Bayat said the IRISL currently sends container and dry bulk ships to ports in East Africa every two weeks, adding that Iranian ships also dock at North African ports at least once per month.
He said Iran’s shipping activity in Libya is expected to increase with a return of calm to the North African country.
The official said the IRISL is seeking to launch a regional office in Africa amid a surge in exports from Iran to the region.
The announcement came as Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi was in Africa on a three-day tour that took him to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The trip that ended late on Thursday has been viewed as a major step by Iran to boost its trade ties with African countries as Tehran seeks to capture a larger share of the export markets in the region.
Iran has increasingly relied on non-oil trade in recent years amid sanctions imposed by the United Sates which restrict its access to oil revenues.
IRISL’s increased shipping activity in Africa comes as figures by the Iranian customs office show that trade with African countries more than doubled in the calendar year to March 20.
Iranian Foreign Ministry figures also show that Iran signed nearly 50 economic and trade cooperation agreements with African countries in the year to late March.