ISTANBUL, July 10 (Reuters) - NITC, Iran's leading oil tanker operator, said on Monday its shipments to Europe were increasing daily and it plans to upgrade its fleet to support expansion.

International sanctions on Iran were lifted in January 2016 and NITC is looking to come in from the cold after years of isolation.

Mohammad Reza Shams Dolatabadi, NITC's head of international affairs, told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy industry conference in Istanbul that the company aimed to replace some of its older tankers with new vessels.

He added that the company also planned to acquire liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, marking a new direction for the company.

"We are thinking of an LNG fleet in the future," he said.

Dolatabadi said the number of NITC ships calling at European ports was set to increase.

(Reporting by Can Sezer, writing by Jonathan Saul; editing by Jason Neely) ((; + 44 207 542 4357 ; Reuters Messaging: