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EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Tanker Company is keen to expand collaboration with Greece in tanker shipping and services sectors in the follow-up to an agreement with Greek shipbuilding firm George Moundreas & Company S.A. signed two years ago.

Sirous Kianersi, NITC’s recently-appointed managing director, made the statement on Saturday in a meeting with the Greek Ambassador to Tehran Georgios Ayfantis, Shana reported.

“NITC welcomes expanding ties with Greek companies in broader areas, such as financing, tanker leasing, workforce training and cooperation in transporting liquefied natural gas,” Kianersi noted. Iran has leased 12 oil tankers to foreign companies and plans call for leasing more vessels in the current fiscal year that ends in March. Iranian tankers carry cargo under the certification of the international classification institute Lloyd's Register. In addition, they are all covered by international insurance firms.

He added that since the signing of a memorandum of understanding between NITC and George Moundreas & Company in 2014, the two sides have held several meetings to explore grounds for building cooperation.

The Greek company is engaged in shipbuilding as well as repair, maintenance, financing and chartering vessels.

"There is immense scope for cooperation between NITC and Greek companies," Ayfantis said, adding that the two countries have the will to realize the potential and draw on the opportunities that exist. Calling for closer ties between the two sides, the Greek envoy said he hopes the MoU would sooner be executed by the Iranian and Greek companies.

According to the Tanker Shipping & Trade journal, NITC plans a stock exchange listing on the local bourse and then overseas in an effort to raise cash for tanker fleet renewal, which reportedly would require $2.5 billion. For its ambitious renewal plans, NITC hopes to receive 70-80% of overseas financing, reports Financial Tribune.

Iran has 42 very large crude carriers (VLCCs), nine Suezmaxes, five Aframaxes and several other ships, with the fleet’s average age at around 8.5 years.  NITC operates one of the world's largest tanker fleet ahead of regional rival Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar, Oman and the UAE, according to the United Nations' 2015 Maritime Transport report.

NITC tanker shipping George Moundreas & Company