MSC is ceasing to provide access to services to and from Iran following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal.
The Switzerland-based carrier noted in a statement that it had made the decision “in consideration of the impending US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and corresponding re-enlargement of its sanctions programme.”
Major container shipping lines including MSC had been taking bookings for Iran-related trade after the 2015 JCPOA effectively lifted certain sanctions on Iran in exchange of limits to its nuclear programme.
In a notice to customers, MSC said: “The US government has outlined a wind-down period in the coming months and we will do our utmost to collaborate with you to conclude this period with the minimum disruption to your business and to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience.
“While MSC is not accepting bookings for shipments originating from Iran, or destined to Iran, we will continue to carry certain legally acceptable cargoes during the wind-down period, notably for importation of foodstuffs.”
The US administration gave shipping lines six months to leave or cease operations with Iran when President Trump announced the US’s withdrawal from the deal.
It also warned that those who do not comply will “face exposure to sanctions or an enforcement action under US law”.
A document published by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) indicated that the wind-down period will run until November 4, 2018, when sanctions will be restored.
These sanctions include ones “against Iran’s ports operators, and shipping and shipbuilding sectors; sanctions against Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and South Shipping Line.”