Foreign Assets Control Issues Advisory Against Iran Shipping
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an advisory July 19, 2012, to the maritime industry that the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) has been operating vessels despite the revocation of their required flags.
According to OFAC, several countries have refused to issue or revoked the issue of flags to IRISL and affiliate vessels because of their refusal to comply with international sanctions. Sierra Leone, which revoked its flag for Irano-Hind OFAC vessel AMIN on June 25, 2012, is the latest in a series of countries doing the same.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the IRISL has been evading sanctions through “deceptive practices.” Sanctions were put in place in 2008 for “facilitating the transport of cargo for U.N. designated proliferators,” and for falsifying documents, according to Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.”
SEE RELATED STORIES FROM THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK:
OFAC has warned that maritime authorities should be on the lookout for improperly flagged vessels, or those with fabricated flags and documentation. Vessels are most easily checked for compliance at port control stations and by mobile canal authorities, where authorities are encouraged to employ thorough scrutiny for each IRISL vessel. Rep. Howard Berman, member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, has also sent letters to Tanzania and Tuvalu requesting they cancel their flags allowing Iranian vessels to ship.
The IRISL has a commercial fleet of approximately 170 ships, which carry nearly a third of exports and imports, according to OFAC. Since sanctions were put in place in 2008 , the United National Security Council has also approved sanctions that include the right to inspect, confiscate and destroy Iranian freights if necessary.
The IRISL’s website, www.irisl.net, features some interesting text regarding the company’s vision. “We are a grand group consisting of companies and institutions which competently take advantage of all our capabilities and resources to not only understand our customer demands and expectations but also to offer multi-modal transportation services in the best possible manner and higher quality, conforming to the international standards with the objective of providing value added services and the supply chain management.” It seems that the Treasury Advisory would not believe that Iran has any desire to conform to international standards.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.