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Published: 11 February 2015
Maersk launches ME5 service
Maersk Line has started a new service linking the western Mediterranean, Red Sea/Horn of Africa with India.
Sailings commenced in February and six ships of about 4,600 TEU are being assigned to the operation which will run outside of the 2M alliance agreement with MSC.
Dubbed ME5, the new service calls direct at Algeciras, Valencia, Genoa, Port Said, Aqaba, Jeddah, Djibouti, Salalah, Colombo and Chennai. The ships will return to Algeciras via Colombo, Salalah, Jeddah, Aqaba and Port Said.
In particular, the new service is aimed at improving links into/out of the port of Aqaba, which is operated by Maersk’s sister company APM Terminals and which over the past 12 months has been doubled in size. It has an annual throughput capacity of about 1.5M TEU.
Aqaba is both an emerging and growing gateway for Baghdad and southern Iraq and the new link will raise slot capacity, improve sailing frequency and service reliability for importers/exporters of cargo based in this region from/to Europe and India.
The ports of Algeciras and Salalah will be used to connect the new service with growing markets in West Africa and East Africa/Indian Ocean, respectively.
A spokesperson for Maersk Jordan elaborated: “This [new service] will solidify Aqaba's presence on the global logistical map by securing more reliable and efficient maritime transport services, which will have a lasting and positive impact on Jordan's national supply chain and will help underscore Aqaba's position as a viable trade and investment hotspot.”
The move means that Maersk now schedules four calls a week at Aqaba, three of which comprise mainline services and one a feeder loop.