Aria Farin Jaam
Freight Forwarding Co.


Latest news

Philadelphia Port Welcomes the Largest Ship to Ever Call at the U.S East Coast

Philadelphia Port Welcome...

The Philadelphia Port welcomed the biggest contain...

South Korea Launches 1st Container Ship Built for Autonomous Operations

South Korea Launches 1st...

South Korea has launched a container ship that wil...

U.S. Blacklists Companies Over $100 Million Iranian Commodity Shipment to China

U.S. Blacklists Companies...

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Fo...

DP World seeks solar power opportunities with Masdar

DP World seeks solar powe...

The three-year deal will look for optimal sites fo...

Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company begins to create container convoys

Ukrainian Danube Shipping...

Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company has held consult...

First of new 2,000 TEU box ship series delivered to CMA CGM

First of new 2,000 TEU bo...

CMA CGM Mermaid, the first of a series of 10 vesse...

Houthis Fire Missiles At Iran-Bound Cargo Ship In Red Sea, Minor Damage Reported

Houthis Fire Missiles At...

Yemeni Houthis reportedly fired two missiles on Mo...

Chartered feeders de rigueur in Red Sea crisis

Chartered feeders de rigu...

Houthi military action has successfully seen the d...


international (157)



Africa, with its relatively young demographic and rapidly developing economies, is emerging as a new source of personnel for the maritime industry. In an announcement made this week, Maersk joined others in the shipping industry that are increasing their recruiting on the continent. This comes as the maritime sector is challenged to recruit new seafarers and fill a growing shortage of qualified personnel made worst by the war in Ukraine.   

Maersk said in its announcement that following an extensive review process, South Africa has been identified as a high-potential crew-sourcing destination for the carrier’s fleet. As the world’s second largest container company, Maersk is currently employing 12,500 seafarers.

South African cadets from the National Seafarer Development Program will be considered for positions with Maersk. The first class of cadets is expected to join Maersk vessels starting in the second quarter of 2023.

“The importance of having geographically diverse pools of seafarers was highlighted during the pandemic,” said Niels Bruus, Head of Marine HR for A.P. Moller- Maersk. “South Africa is a natural choice due to its maritime legacy, and the number of high-quality South African seafarers currently employed in Maersk’s global container vessel fleet, many of whom hold senior positions in our crews.”

According to the shipping giant, South Africa is considered a high-potential crew sourcing area for several reasons. These include the country’s proven track record in providing quality ship officers, its favorable geographical location, an existing maritime infrastructure, a large population, and English language capabilities. In addition, South Africa’s socioeconomic profile and cost of living index also lend itself to offshore employment.

Maersk highlights that the company has already been supportive of the development of maritime education in South Africa. The A.P. Moller - Maersk Foundation established the South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) in 2003. SAMTRA offers a range of simulation-based skills development courses and it will now manage the Maersk South Africa Cadet Program.

SAMTRA is also a leading provider of talent for the South African National Seafarer Development Program (NSDP), a program sponsored by the South African government. It also receives support from the National Skills Fund and the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).

“There are quite a few companies now with their toe dipped into the vast pool of seafaring potential in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet they are just a small percentage overall,” comments Craig De Savoye, a specialist in the African maritime sector and Commercial Director at Protection Vessels International. “That said, companies like Maersk have an eye on the future and are skating to where the puck is going, not sticking around where the puck has been.”


The CEO of Celebrity Cruises recalls the story several years ago when she was challenged during a presentation by a young woman from Cameroon. Nicholine Tifuh Azirh recounted the bias she had encountered preventing her from pursuing her dream of a maritime career after having graduated from a maritime college in Ghana. She challenged the cruise company to increase its recruiting and hiring.

“Nicholine was a determined young woman and she was not going to let me get away without hearing her story,” recalled Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity. Moved by the story, she set Celebrity’s marine department on a mission, and Nicholine became the first cadet on the Celebrity Equinox from a program with the maritime academy in Ghana. She has gone on to a career working as an officer with Celebrity Cruises along with several other African women that are also pursuing maritime careers with the cruise line.



Thursday, 16 February 2023 09:48

Iran, Africa Non-Oil Trade Booming

Written by

The value of Iran’s non-oil export to Africa rose 19% in the first 10 months of the current Iranian calendar year, as compared to the same period of time in the past year.


The value of Iran’s non-oil export to Africa rose 19 percent in the first 10 months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2022-January 20, 2023), as compared to the same period of time in the past year, the vice president of Iran and Africa Merchants Club Ruhollah Latifi said.

Latifi noted that Iranian traders exported over 2,247,619 tons of commodities worth $1,108,357,000 to African countries in the mentioned 10-month period, IRIB reported.

According to the official, Iran exported commodities to 45 African countries and the exports also increased by nine percent in terms of weight.

Latifi put the total Iran-Africa trade in the said 10 months at 2.330 million tons valued at $1.188 billion, of which the share of Iran’s import was 84,280 tons valued at $79.685 million.

The trade between Iran and Africa increased by 11 percent in terms of weight and 22 percent in terms of value in the said period, Latifi said.

According to Latifi, imports from Africa increased by 70 percent and 79 percent in terms of weight and value, respectively.

The official named South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, and Kenya as the main export destinations and Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana as the major sources of imports for Iran among the African countries in the first 10 months of the present year.

Latifi earlier said that trade between Iran and Africa reached $1.250 billion last year with a 100 percent growth, and considering the current trend of trade with the African continent the figure is expected to reach $1.7 billion by the end of the current year (March 20, 2023).

Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Alireza Peyman-Pak has also said the country is taking the necessary steps to increase annual trade exchanges with African countries to $5 billion by the Iranian calendar year 1404 (begins in March 2025).

Peyman-Pak said the trade with the mentioned countries is expected to reach $2.5 billion by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2023).

Referring to the preparation of the country’s trade development roadmap at the beginning of the work of the 13th administration, the official said: “In this roadmap, major factors including exports and the share of different sectors are specified, and in the case of Africa, the priorities and targets for trade with different countries and the requirements for reaching these targets are determined.”

Peyman-Pak put the share of African countries in Iran’s export basket at $1.2 billion, saying: “Africa’s annual imports amount to about $580 billion, and our share of this figure is still small despite all the efforts. We have managed to export $1.2 billion to this market.”

He further mentioned the capacities of the mentioned continent for the export of technical and engineering services and said: “The total exports of technical and engineering services to Africa is currently $300 billion; But our share last year, despite a slight increase reached only $200 million, which is still small.”

According to the TPO head, in order to increase the level of trade with Africa certain infrastructure including transportation and direct shipping lines, as well as proper legal, commercial, monetary, and banking relations must be provided, and TPO has been recently focusing on providing such requirements to facilitate trade with Africa.

“To solve the transportation problems, four countries have been selected in East, West, South, and North of Africa, to launch air and shipping lines,” he said.



The United States Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) making available more than US$662 million in Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 funding for MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).

The purpose of the PIDP investment is to modernise the country’s ports and help strengthen the supply chain sector in the US. The infrastructure package of the president of the US, Joe Biden, provides US$450 million annually in funding for the programme.

In addition, MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program discretionary grants help eligible applicants including port authorities, states, local governments, indigenous Tribal nations, counties, and other eligible entities complete critical port and port-related infrastructure projects.

Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips, commented, “The program also includes a statutory set-aside for small ports to continue to improve and expand their capacity to move freight reliably and efficiently, support local and regional economies, and support supply chain improvement.”

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods through ports and intermodal connections to ports.

MARAD will also consider how projects address climate change and sustainability, equity, and workforce development objectives.

In the coming weeks, the Federal Highway Administration will open FY 2022-20223 grant applications for the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities program, which will make US$160 million available to test, evaluate, and deploy projects that reduce port-related emissions from idling trucks, including through the advancement of port electrification and improvements in efficiency.

MARAD is also planning to host a series of webinars that describe PIDP NOFO requirements and the PIDP application process.






The Black Sea port of Novorossiysk has managed to stabilize the flow of import and export containers, primarily through well-developed Turkish-Russian relations in the trade and logistics sectors.

As Russia-EU trade via the Baltic Sea was heavily sanctioned in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russian traders began to shift towards alternative routes, avoiding EU transshipment ports. The Black Sea-based port of Novorossiysk is one of their few remaining options.

The Russian Baltic container terminals that depend heavily on European container hubs lost over half of their container traffic during January-September 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. At the same time, Russian container turnover on the Black Sea – which largely relies on Turkish container ports for transshipment – has dropped by just 11 percent over the same timeframe.

Informall BG’s findings show that significant logistical changes have affected containerized cargo moving via Saint Peterburg (prior to the war, a major gateway for Russian containerized freight). Due to liner service suspension by many shipping companies, certain types of cargo (such as coffee and cocoa beans) that traditionally arrived at the port in ocean containers are now shipped directly to the country by road and rail.

Unlike the Russian-Baltic container market, the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk has managed to stabilize the flow of import and export containers, primarily through well-developed Turkish-Russian relations in the trade and logistics sectors.

After a two-month volume fall in the port of Novorossiysk, its container terminals regained nine percent month-over-month in September. Although numbers show (below) that global shipping lines did not carry any considerable volume of shipments to/from Novorossiysk prior to the war, those liner services played a vital role for many businesses in Russia, connecting them to the remote destinations of Asia, Africa, and South America.

As the number of international liner services dropped and sanctions cut logistics ties off from both sides, Russia now uses a limited number of destinations for its import and export needs.

Parallel import of various goods (including dual-use products) facilitated by the transport systems of Iran, the United Arab Emirates, China and India have become a common way to dodge sanctions in Russia by both Moscow’s government and local businesses. 

A window of opportunity on the Black Sea – again?

Black Sea regional and niche carriers burst into the Russian-BSEA container market to benefit from the drop in global liner activities in Novorossiysk.

“The situation on the BSEA market today is comparable to the period of time when global ocean carriers reoriented a chunk of their capacities to the Transpacific and Asia-Europe tradelines in 2H 2020 – 2021 due to skyrocketing spot rates and unprecedented demand for the tonnage and empty container equipment in South-East Asia,” says Daniil Melnychenko, a data analyst at Informall BG. “As global carriers retreated from regional services and focused on the more lucrative major tradelanes, regional and niche carriers such as Turkish ‘Akkon Line’ launched services to Novorossiysk during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic; Other operators used that chance to develop already existing services and increase their market share.”

While the pandemic-era departure of the global container carriers was simply about making profits, this time the reasons are more complex and far-reaching, he adds.

Market changes driven by the Russian aggression in the Black Sea region have created a window of opportunity for those shipping companies that are ready to take their chances in the war-disrupted market. Turkish-origin private carriers of various sizes which facilitate cargo moving to/from Novorossiysk actively grew their volumes of Russian container traffic in 2022. 

Recently founded Sidra Line (launched in May 2022) is an example of one of these niche carriers. Sidra launched a feeder ‘Novorossiysk Express Service’ connecting Russia with the Turkish ports via two chartered container ships – the Commander with a capacity of 361 TEU and the Keremcan with a capacity of 374 TEU.

Turkiye-based Arkas, Admiral, Akkon, and Medkon liner operators have considerably increased their volumes in the Russian-BSEA market since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. According to Informall BG, these carriers’ cumulative market share increased from 16 percent to nearly 55 percent during the first seven months after the Russian invasion began.

Russian liner operators emerge

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the last liner operator with service to Novorossiysk, continues to handle a considerable amount of Russia-origin/destined shipments. The range of cargo has been limited to “food, medical equipment, and humanitarian goods” based on company policy announced in March 2022. Despite MSC’s announcement of booking suspension in Russia ‘with immediate effect’ Informall numbers show that its volumes spiked in Q2 2022, and an actual decline only began in Q3. 

Eventually, MSC stepped down from the top carrier position in the port, giving the lead to Russia-based ‘Ruscon’ and ‘Trans Container’ (TC) multimodal logistics operators – both part of Delo Group (a Russian logistics holding). 

At the same time, Delo Group, through its subsidiary logistics operators and its own container terminal – NUTEP (the biggest Russian container terminal on the Black Sea) quickly picked up the ball on this “no-competition” market. Delo Group began its run towards becoming the biggest container logistics operator in the Russian-BSEA region.

Well-coordinated cooperation of Ruscon and Trans Container (TC), along with preferable market conditions, allowed the Russian logistics operator to grow its volume in Novorossiysk by 26 percent within a period of seven months.

Jointly operated Ruscon / Trans Container multimodal service via Novorossiysk to India contributes further to the growing BSEA market share. It is the only (officially announced) international service provided by these Russian logistics operators on the BSEA.

“A window of opportunity in the Russian-BSEA container market exists and regional carriers are partly compensating for the capacity gap that emerged since the global carriers’ exodus from Novorossiysk,” says Vassiliy Vesselovski – CEO of Informall BG. “Our observations indicate that tonnage availability is not a significant issue for Russian exporters today . . . [and] we should anticipate further development of the Turkish logistics sector into the Russian-BSEA region transport system during 2023.





The container fire at the Port of Iskenderun in Turkey, caused by the heavy earthquake, can generate US$680 million of trade disruption.

According to Russell Group, a data and analytics company, the container fire at the Port of Iskenderun in Turkey, caused by the heavy earthquake, can generate US$680 million of trade disruption.

The analysis says the accident is projected to interrupt US$36.7 million in iron and steel exports and US$51.4 million in plastic materials imports.

The port shut operations on 6 February and remains closed until today (9 February), while several shipping lines have postponed the transportation of cargo at the port or diverted goods to Mersin, one of the Turkish ports nearby.

According to Russell’s study, Iskenderun is one of two main shipping container ports on Turkey’s south-eastern coastlines and is home to heavy industries such as steel, with an annual trade flow of US$18 billion in 2022.

The research was based on modelling from 6 February to 28 February 2023 and examined the operations of major shipping firms, who are giving free cancellations, modifications, and destination changes on all cargo travelling to Iskenderun during the current month.

“The Iskenderun incident highlights a reoccurring issue in global trade, whereby a single point of failure – such as a port closure – can have ripple events across supply chains,” stated Suki Basi, Russell Group managing director.



Consul General of Iran Mehran Movahedfar suggested that both Iran and Pakistan should devise a barter mechanism on the basis of local currencies to facilitate bilateral trade.

He expressed these views while addressing a ceremony held to mark the 44th anniversary of Islamic revolution in Iran. Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman was chief guest.

CG Iran said because of lack of banking channels, custom tariff and non-tariff obstacles have made trade between the businesses of both countries difficult. He urged that government of Pakistan should take steps for increasing legal trade with Tehran and promoting linkages between financial institutions of both the countries.

He suggested that there should be a barter system on the basis of local currencies adding that Iran is already successfully operating such a system with China, Russia and other countries. He said despite sanctions Iran was ready to meet energy needs of Pakistan.

Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman, who was chief guest at the event, hoped that governments of both the neighboring countries would be able to devise some trade system to the mutual benefit of their peoples.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were PML-N’s Muhammad Mehdi, PML-Q’s Chaudhry Shafay Hussain, PTI leader Senator Waleed Iqbal, retired Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal, Dr Amjad Abbas Magsi and film producer Syed Noor.










Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, has said that his country desired to sign a transit trade treaty with Pakistan.

The treaty is very important as it will provide a legal framework to the businesspeople of both countries for developing trade ties.

“We are also planning to sign an agreement between the State Bank of Pakistan and National Bank of Kazakhstan to develop legal framework for cooperation in the banking sector,” he added.

The ambassador said that his embassy is further planning to arrange visit of President of Kazakhstan to Pakistan this year and we will be signing a number of bilateral agreements, MOUs and commercial contracts during the said visit of our President.

“I invite Karachi Chamber to be part of the success story and I am pretty sure that with your contribution, we will be able to further strengthen the existing ties,” he said while speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).

Senior Vice President KCCI Touseef Ahmed, Vice President KCCI Haris Agar, Chairman Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Zia ul Arfeen, Former President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Former SVP Arshad Islam, Former VP Qazi Zahid Hussain and KCCI Managing Committee6 Members also attended the meeting.

Kazakhstani Ambassador also expressed the intentions to develop cooperation between the businesspeople in Karachi and Almaty by declaring them as sister cities, in addition to developing cooperation between Karachi Chamber and Chamber of Commerce of Almaty which would certainly give boost trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

“We are also trying to connect transit land routes between Kazakhstan and Pakistan and I am happy to see that TCS is now delivery consignments between two countries on a regular basis via Afghanistan and they can even provide insurance facility for your products,” he added.

While referring to his meetings from time to time with various Chambers of Commerce, he said that the business people, who are very pragmatic, raised three main issues hindering trade, investment and economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan including lack of connectivity which was a major hurdle in developing bilateral trade but it has been resolved now as on April 26, direct flight between Lahore and Almaty will be launched which will be followed by commencement of direct flights Karachi and Almaty from May this year.

“The second issue identified was pertaining to visa facilitation which has also been fixed by our Embassy as we now take around three to five days only to issue visa to those individuals who submit a letter from Chamber of Commerce along with their visa application,” said Yerzhan Kistafin.

“The third issue was pertaining to banking and I can happily inform that during our Deputy Prime Minister’s visit to Islamabad in December last year to attend 11th session of bilateral Inter-governmental Joint Commission, an MoU was signed between Bank of Punjab and Bank Center Credit Kazakhstan for establishing cooperation between our banks which would result in availability of formal banking channel facilitating all the transactions of businesspeople.”

He further noted that for the first time, businesspeople from Kazakhstan visited Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi in the month of February whereas Single Country Exhibitions were also staged in Pakistan and Almaty wherein more than 100 businesspeople from Pakistan participated. “The business communities of the two countries can develop cooperation in pharmaceutical, sports goods, agriculture, textile, construction and IT sectors etc. All we need is to develop strong connections between our businesspeople.”

While requesting KCCI to send a trade delegation to Kazakhstan on commencement of direct flight from Karachi in May, he said that Karachi was the financial hub of Pakistan, hence, its business community should take lead in further developing trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Earlier, Senior Vice President KCCI Touseef Ahmed, while warmly welcoming the Ambassador, stated that Kazakhstan was a part of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) which was an economic regional block comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan & Russia formed in 2015, hence, Pakistan can take advantage of easily accessing the huge Eurasian market through Kazakhstan.

“Despite strong bilateral relations between the two countries, Pakistan’s exports to Kazakhstan stood at a meagre of $107.87 million in FY22 as compared to $79.69 million in FY21, representing a growth of around 35.36 percent but during six months of current fiscal year, our exports to Kazakhstan dropped by 42 percent to $36.62 million compared to $68 million last year which needs to enhanced to a reasonable level through mutual cooperation”, he said.

Touseef Ahmed also invited Kazakhstani authorities and the business community to participate in Karachi Chamber’s “My Karachi Exhibition beginning from 3rd to 5th March 2023 which would be a wonderful platform for Kazakhstani private sector to explore businesses, markets & investment opportunities. He was of the view that both countries have great potential for diversifying trade relations and entering into joint ventures in the areas of agriculture, processing, IT, textile, energy, logistics, housing & construction sector. “CPEC and Gwadar Port provide shortest route to Kazakhstan for strengthening bilateral trade, exports and economic development and improving connectivity.”



The booming orders in 2023 marks a rebound in foreign trade of Guangdong Province, a primary economic hub, injecting new impetus into the global economic recovery.

The booming orders at the beginning of 2023 mark a robust rebound in foreign trade in south China’s Guangdong Province, a primary economic hub, injecting new impetus into the global economic recovery.

With eased epidemic controls and resumed international communication, particularly the economic and trade contacts, some factories in Huizhou City, Guangdong, are facing surging orders from overseas and a growing demand for industrial workers. Fierce competition to grab orders in the broad overseas markets is also in sight among Chinese enterprises.

The Guangdong One Nano Technology Co., Ltd. in Zhongkai High-tech Zone of Huizhou is now fully engaged in the spring recruitment and plans to double the size of its staff in 2023, following an increase of 279 percent in its revenue in 2022 and a busy order schedule for various nanomaterials before the second quarter of 2023.

“We are highly confident and motivated. We want to get our business off to a good start in the first quarter and strive to increase our production value by 10 percent this year,” said Zhang Qian, general manager of Huizhou Macc Electronics Co., Ltd., which has sent a marketing team to visit clients for cooperation chances in the Middle East, Europe, the U.S.A. and the Republic of Korea.

Overall, the economic operation saw a striking recovery trend as the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain strengthened and market expectations improved. Statistics show that Chinese enterprises have robust confidence and optimistic prospects.

The purchasing managers’ index for China’s manufacturing sector rose 3.1 percent from the previous month to 50.1 percent in January, while the new orders index rose seven percentage points to 50.9 percent, according to a recent release by the service industry survey center of the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.

The outstanding performance is part and parcel of the efforts by Chinese enterprises regarding digital transformation and business format innovation.

Benefiting from the expansion of the intelligent manufacturing production lines and automatic assembly lines, as well as the update of the information managing system, Galanz, a Foshan-based home appliance manufacturer, has received rapidly growing foreign-trade orders for microwave ovens, toasters, and ovens and dishwashers.

Apart from production, enterprises also attach more importance to cross-border e-commerce, greatly facilitating their foreign trade business.

“Our salesmen were busy with orders received during the Spring Festival. The inquiries and orders on over the holiday were higher than usual, totaling more than 3 million U.S. dollars,” said Zhao Yunqi, general manager of Sunway Solar Co., Ltd., whose rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are distributed to the overseas warehouse upon production due to the burgeoning order number.

Cross-border e-commerce platforms like have become an accelerator for new business formats to develop. The cross-border index on shows that high-quality business opportunities in the new energy industry on the platform have increased by 92 percent, making it an export highlight.

The platform also plans to launch 100 overseas digital exhibitions this year, together with 30,000 cross-border live broadcasts and 40 press conferences for new products in March.

Despite challenges such as the rising risk of global economic recession and slowing growth of overseas market demand, China’s import and export potential and contribution to the world economy remain promising.

The deepened opening up of China’s economy and recovery in domestic demand could boost global economic growth by about one percent in 2023, according to a late report by the Goldman Sachs Group.

China will stick to a high-level opening up to make foreign trade more convenient and rewarding by multiple methods. Offline domestic export exhibitions will resume, and enterprises will receive full support to participate in professional expos abroad.

China will also strengthen cooperation with trading partners, leverage the advantages of its massive market, increase quality product imports from other countries, and stabilize the global trade supply chain, according to an official of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

The 133rd China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, scheduled to open on April 15, will fully resume offline exhibitions. Chu Shijia, director of the China Foreign Trade Center, said that more than 40,000 enterprises have applied to participate. The number of offline exhibition booths is expected to increase from 60,000 to nearly 70,000.

“The full recovery of the exhibition industry will accelerate, and the flourishing of trade, investment, consumption, tourism, catering, and other industries will follow,” said Chu, who noted that significant development and improvement of the Canton Fair will also better contribute to high-quality economic development.



The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' boxship-to-warship conversion project appears to be aimed at producing drone carriers, according to Iranian social media and naval analyst H.I. Sutton

Last year, open-source intelligence analysts obtained a photo of what appeared to be a new IRGC "base ship" in shipyard at Bandar Abbas. The vessel's deckhouse and hull were painted in a coat of haze gray, with gun emplacements on the stern - but her lines were identical to a Panamax boxship belonging to sanctioned Iranian shipping line IRISL. It appeared that a disused container ship had been transferred to the IRGC for conversion into a mobile military logistics platform.

However, the details may differ slightly. New photos analyzed by H.I. Sutton appear to indicate that the ship is being fitted with a giant, overhanging deck on her port side, like an exaggerated version of an aircraft carrier's flight deck. The wing-shaped appendage appears to increase the beam of the ship by about one third, on one side only. 

While this may not quite be an aircraft carrier, neither does it appear to be a "base ship." Iranian local media accounts suggest that the vessel will become something unique: a storage and launch platform for Iran's militarized drones, reports USNI News.

It also appears that the IRGC will be converting two boxships to a drone carrier configuration. One has been reported as the former 3,300 TEU boxship Sarvin - currently listed in Equasis as "in repair/conversion" - and Sutton has identified the other as a sister ship, the Perarin. Both were last seen on AIS in 2019, lying at anchor off Bandar Abbas. 

Iran has invested in drone warfare for decades, and its capabilities are on demonstration on a daily basis in Ukraine, where Russia is using hundreds of imported Iranian Shahed-136 "suicide" drones to bombard the nation's power grid. Iran's drone systems have also been used prolifically by its proxy forces in the Middle East, notably Yemen's Houthi rebels.

On Saturday, in a preview of how an Iranian "drone carrier" might operate in conflict, the Iranian Navy test-launched an Ababil suicide drone from the deck of the landing ship IRIS Lavan. The drone flew inland to a target site and struck what appeared to be a mockup of Israel's Eliat Naval Base. 


Ashdod Port Company in Israel has struck a deal with Maersk North America to work on supply chain logistics innovation potential.

The partnership is expected to allow Israeli firms participating in the Blue Ocean for Startups technological incubator at Ashdod Port to be eligible for pilot projects in North America to test the suggested solutions in landside operations.

The partnership was struck during the Manifest conference in Las Vegas, which is one of the world’s major logistics conventions.

“This type of collaboration is critical, so we can upgrade the entire supply chain, the source of the modern global economy, and make it more efficient,” stated Orna Hozman Bechor, chairman of the board of Ashdod Port.

Earlier in 2021, Maersk signed an innovation partnership agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Transportation & Logistics. MIT’s world-renowned engineering skills and data scientist teams will work to investigate methods to improve Maersk North America’s logistics and data operations.

Ashdod Port was represented at the signing by the chairman of the board Orna Hozman Bechor and chief innovation officer Roy Avrahami. Erez Agmoni, senior vice president of innovation and strategic growth at Maersk, represented the company.

“The pandemic highlighted the importance of supply chains to constantly improve. This new partnership enables us to accelerate and test technology and new ideas in our operational processes using Ashdod Port’s tech incubator, ” noted Erez Agmoni, Maersk North America’s senior vice president of Innovation and Strategic Growth.