Speaking at the Container Supply Chain Conference at TOC Middle East 2016, he said: “There will be a rapid increase in the number of services calling at Iran with the Ocean Alliance planning to add several direct calls next year. It means carriers will probably get volumes, but not profitability, as rates will decline sharply. It will be a repeat of the situation in South America three or four years ago.”
And Jensen warned ports and terminals in the region of Iran’s emergence: “If there is a huge influx of carriers, why would you want to tranship containers? It [Iran’s opening up] is a strategic threat to the large transhipment ports, including Jebel Ali, in the region. It also means there is a heightened risk of a significant oversupply of cargo-handling capacity in the ports occurring in the area.”
He elaborated: “As infrastructure gets better in Iran and its ports’ ability to handle large ships improve, part of the argument for transhipment goes away. I think transhipment will go down in the coming years. This will be compounded by alliances running wider networks and introducing more direct ports of call.”
It is clear that for ports such as Jebel Ali, Khor Fakkan and Salalah which rely on relay traffic, the future is set to be more challenging.