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i-maritime Newsletter

Maersk to pull out direct service from Chennai to North Europe - 2011-12-08

Maersk Line will pull out its fastest and direct container service — ICON (India Colombo North Europe) — from Chennai to North Europe from February. This is part of the line's effort to rationalise and optimise the shipping service between the Far-East and the Indian sub-continent to North Europe.

The world's largest shipping line will merge the ICON service, which was launched in March, with the recently announced Asia-Europe Daily Maersk network, which promises ‘absolute reliability'.

With seven 4,200-TEUs size vessels, the port rotation for the ICON service that commenced in March is Felixstowe, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Salalah, Colombo, Chennai, Colombo, Salalah and back to Felixstowe — from Chennai it takes 21 days to reach Zeebruge. However, with the transhipment in Colombo, the number of days increases by three to four days, said an official at a large custom house agent.

Besides the optimisation of trade between the Indian subcontinent and North Europe, this rationalisation will also help in efforts to establish a more balanced supply/demand scenario within the trade from the Far East to North Europe, the shipping line said in a statement.

Exports from North Europe to the Indian sub-continent, including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, will be covered on the AE1 service, which will feature a direct call in Colombo. These changes will not have any impact on the Daily Maersk network. The transportation times will remain unchanged, Maersk said.

The network changes will become effective after the Chinese New Year (early February 2012), and will feature the following ICON product enhancements: a dedicated feeder link between Chittagong and Tanjung Pelepas, providing access to the ‘Daily Maersk' network.

AE7 service direct call in Colombo westbound, improving the transit time from Colombo to North Europe by 2-3 days Weekly Chennai feeder via Colombo, improving on time delivery.

Daily Maersk offers a daily service between four ports in Asia (Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian and Tanjung Pelepas) and three ports in Europe (Felixstowe, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven) creating a giant ocean liner conveyor belt on the world's busiest trade lane — Maersk moves nearly one million containers from Asia to Europe every year.

Up until now, customers have had to adjust their production schedules and supply chains to accommodate shipping lines' unreliability, as they have never been able to trust that their cargo would be on time. However, the engine behind Daily Maersk is 70 vessels operating a daily service between Asia and Europe in what amounts to a giant ocean conveyor belt for the world's busiest trade lane.

Regardless of which of the four Asian ports the cargo is loaded at, the transportation time — from cut-off to cargo availability — is fixed. Daily cut-offs mean that cargo can be shipped immediately after production without the need for storage.

Source: Hindu Business Line