Monday, November 2, 2015

UK Freight Forwarder Sees Export Opportunities in Sight for Iran

If Nuclear Programme Deal is Sanctioned Shipping Could be Normalised
Shipping News Feature
UK – IRAN – It may well come as a shock to the younger generation but to any freight forwarder of somewhat advanced years Iran is remembered as a reliable trading partner. British exports would flow, both by road and sea, often via the port city of Khorramshahr, with an amount of proscribed products in the Cold War days, banned by the US and its allies under the Export Control Act of 1949 and reinforced post the Korean War, doubtless wending their subsequent way north to the Soviet Union.

Times of course change, with Khorramshahr earning the sobriquet ‘City of Blood’ when flattened in 1980 during the first great battle of the Iran-Iraq war but now rebuilding and, with the possibility of an historic deal between Iran and the powers representing the international community on Teheran's nuclear programme in sight, we may yet see the unfreezing of overseas assets and the ending of most international sanctions as early as next spring, and one veteran freight forwarding group says it is ready for ‘business as usual’.

Davies Turner, a company which has traded on behalf of British, North American and European exporters to the Iranian market for over 60 years, says it is keen to build on its long-established presence in the country and points out it has also maintained unbroken its own representative office in the country for almost half a century. The company has assisted exhibitors at one of the most important publishing events in Asia and the Middle East, the Tehran International Book Fair, since its inception in 1987 and plans are already in place to support the next event in May 2016.

Davies Turner Group Chairman Philip Stephenson believes that with the thawing of business and diplomatic relations, and relaxation of sanctions, there is the potential for unlocking billions of dollars of trade deals to repair the country’s industrial and economic infrastructure. Much else beside the oil and gas industry needs repair, development and maintenance meaning there is great potential for high-tech manufacturers, telecoms companies and automotive producers. He says:

“The key to steady and continuous business development in Iran is very much the personal touch. The market knows us and trusts us. We have been in the country for five decades. Much of the business is controlled at destination in Iran where we have our own office, co-operating with a strong local partner for the benefit of our loyal customer base.

“We anticipate that there could be great opportunities even in the aerospace field as well as in consumer and retail markets. Despite the long-lasting sanctions, people in Iran still have money to spend. Overland services to the country benefit from the good roads there and as a multimodal forwarder we also offer ocean and air cargo services.

”There is considerable pent-up demand from consumers and businesses for imported products. At the same time, Iranian exporters will work to recapture lost international markets. Our long established customer base will reassure clients old and new and encourage them to entrust us with their traffic. There is a great appreciation that we kept our Tehran office open even in the most difficult years. Working in careful compliance with HMRC and international law, Davies Turner kept freight links between the two countries active and profitable. Now that normal relations look set to return, we are well poised to help British and Iranian businesses re-connect.”

Photo: The tragedy of war, the Port of Khorramshahr when retaken by Iranian forces.