Maersk Line has recently reviewed their current network and as a result reduced the number of ports they will call at directly with mother vessels in the Mediterranean with their Far East to Europe service. Maersk Line will therefore not be serving Malta domestic cargo with a direct call from Far East but via a feeder service linking the transhipment port of Port Said Egypt to Malta. There will be three weekly departures from Port Said providing this link.
Joe Gerada, Group managing director at Thomas Smith discussed how these changes will affect Malta.
“The effect of this is that it adds a few days to the transit time of the service Far East to Malta. The feeder services that used to feed other Mediterranean ports from the Far East service via Malta automatically move with the service. There will be three departures per week linking Malta to Far East via Port Said. Otherwise all other services have stayed and there is no intention for any of them to change in the foreseeable future. The domestic trade has therefore not been impacted. Maersk Line will continue to operate direct services from North Europe, and South America besides being connected worldwide via other transhipment ports, as it has always been for many years,” he said.
“These decisions happen from time to time in shipping and are basically a shift in operations, usually with an aim of achieving better synergies depending on cargo mix of port of loading and port of discharge, freight rates, transit times and fuel economies. There is usually no one single reason that leads to this and in our long history and experience in container shipping we have witnessed many such changes. As likely as services are shifted away they are also shifted back over business cycles,” he added.
“Maersk Line’s contribution to Malta has been and still is that of giving worldwide container shipping connections to Maltese exporters and importers as well as bringing transhipment opportunities to Malta where Maersk has been and still is a significant player at Malta Freeport Terminal. Vessel calls in the ports also generate income to Malta through the services a ship requires during such calls.”
Shipping is a dynamic business involving many international variables and nobody in the business is surprised by changes in shipping patterns.
In addition, Maersk Line is no longer looking at port-to-port business. A recent announcement states that as from August 1, 2019, they will be providing customers with seamless access to a wider range of logistics and services offerings. This is a next step in the implementation of Maersk Line’s strategy to offer end-to-end solutions to customers. Thomas Smith, being already strong in logistics and ancillary services offerings, is excited about this news. Thomas Smith always aimed to offer a one-stop-shop for shipping clients, and is consequently looking optimistically at these developments.
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