January 29 - According to reports in the international media, France's CMA CGM has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).

The French government said that the agreement was signed during a visit by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to Paris this week.

The agreement is intended to boost CMA CGM's presence in Iran and will initially focus on sharing vessels and jointly operating services.

"The gradual lifting of sanctions should greatly increase trade between Iran and the rest of the world. This agreement opens CMA CGM to new development prospects in this area," CMA CGM said in a statement.

Since sanctions were lifted, Iran has been inundated with offers of trade cooperation from various countries.

IRISL also expressed a desire to collaborate with Maersk Group, holding a meeting with the Danish Shipowners' Association to discuss a partnership.

Meanwhile, a delegation comprising Italian government figures and port authorities met with IRISL to negotiate mutual collaborations between the two countries in the post-sanctions era.

IRISL managing director Mohammad Saeidi said at a recent forum: "Unfortunately, today IRISL stands at 23rd among top shipping lines thanks to sanctions, and has lost its place in the shipping world; however, one of our main goals is to stand at where we used to."

HLPFI is publishing a feature on Iran in its March/April 2016 edition - if you have any comments about the above or would like to contribute editorially to the article, please contact Annie Roberts at ar@heavyliftpfi.com.