Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jun 09, 2006
Maersk begins Rotterdam to Pipavav direct service
With this, Rotterdam becomes the last European port of loading for Pipavav, Nhava Sheva and Jebel Ali.
Pipavav will be serviced on a fixed weekly schedule.
Six ships with capacities ranging from 4,026-4,822 TEU will be deployed on the ME1 loop.
Kolkata , June 8
Maersk Line has revised the sailing schedule of its weekly ME1 service from Europe to West Asia and India, with the most important change being the introduction of direct sailings from Rotterdam to Pipavav port (Gujarat).
The transit time from Rotterdam to Pipavav will be 17 days.
Following the change, Salalah, the hub in Oman, has been removed from the sailing schedule while Malaga has been shifted from the eastbound to the westbound trip.
As a result, Rotterdam becomes the last European port of loading for Pipavav, Nhava Sheva and Jebel Ali. Salalah will now be served directly from Europe on the ME2 loop or the AE9 service to the Far East.
On the westbound leg, the containers loaded in the Indian ports of Pipavav and Nhava Sheva will be unloaded successively at Malaga, Algeciras, Felixstowe, Antwerp, Bremerhaven and finally Rotterdam.
Reports have it that the Antwerp call might be replaced by Zeebrugge shortly.
Earlier this month, the 4,640-TEU Maersk Mandraki was the first ship to call at Pipavav. It was followed by Maersk Dammam.
Pipavav thus will be serviced on a fixed weekly schedule. Six ships with capacities ranging from 4,026-4,822 TEU will be deployed on the ME1 loop. Safmarine, an associate of Maersk, has also slots on board as part of this service, selling it under the name "Prime Express".
Maersk, it might be recalled, was the first shipping line to launch regular services from Pipavav. Three years ago, P&O Ports started operation from the Mundra International Container Terminal, which now handles regular services by Mediterranean Shipping Company and the Hapg Lloyd/CMA-CGM combine.
The westbound round-the-world services of Norasia and Gold Star Line, a subsidiary of Zim, also call at Mundra. These are Maersk's main competitiors.
Mundra is also a port in Gujarat and located not far from Pipavav.
With P&O Ports having sold all its global terminal business (except in the US) to Dubai Port World, the latter now becomes the owner of Mundra.
AP Moller ups stake
Meanwhile, AP Moller Maersk, the Danish parent company of Maersk Line, has via APM Terminals and Maersk India, upped its stake in Gujarat Pipavav Port Ltd to more than 56 per cent from the earlier 43 per cent.
The port's present container terminal has a quay length of 394 metres and three portal gantry cranes and a mobile crane.
APM Terminals, which has major investment programme for Pipavav port, plans a second terminal to be equipped with three super post-panamax gantry cranes.
Pipavav port is connected to the rail network of the Indian Railways and thus to several inland container depots in North India and can handle trains of 180 TEUS, with containers stacked too high.
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