Shipping line Hapag-Lloyd expands its reach in the Middle East, India and East Africa, adding more ports to its network. Simultaneously, the company announced upping its reefer container fleet by 11,000-plus units.
The economy in East Africa is growing by roughly six percent per annum, evidenced by rising exports and imports coupled with investments in the infrastructure particularly in Kenya but also the
neighboring countries. Similarly, the United Arab Emirates and India are reporting stark growth figures.
Based on this encouraging development and the overall positive economic environment, H-L has decided to expand their scheduled weekly services between Jeddah, Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam by adding four new ports to its regional network: These are Khor Fakkan and Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, Mundra and Khor Fakkan at the Indian west coast. The new offering to the market is dubbed EAS2, following EAS1, launched last April, calling at the ports of Mombasa, Jeddah, and Dar Es Salaam.
Strong regional footprint
EAS stands for East African Service but stretches beyond Africa and Saudi Arabia reaching out to the Arabian/Persian Gulf and the Indian west coast. But instead of fundamentally renaming their enlarged regional sailing service, H-L decided to use the acronym EAS2 to characterize their broader transport offering, making EAS1 superfluous.
Comments Dheeraj Bhatia, Managing Director Africa, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent for Hapag-Lloyd “Our East Africa Service has developed very positively. After only four months in operation, we have significantly expanded our business with overall vessel utilization beyond our expectations.” The manager went on to say: “With our upcoming new EAS2 service we will be able to offer even better connections from and to East Africa, the Middle East and India.”
More reefer containers coming
On another note, H-L has ordered 11,100 reefer containers to further strengthen the shipping line’s position as one of the largest reefer carriers worldwide. They will be available by December this year and add to the current fleet of 91,000 cool boxes.
The production of the first series of 40’ containers has already begun, with 2,000 of the new boxes being equipped with “Controlled Atmosphere.” A widely proven technology used to slow down the ripening process and to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The state-of-the-art containers will also have cooling units with the highest level of efficiency, promises H-L in a release. “Thanks to optimized power control, they will also consume significantly less energy, without any change in performance and temperature precision.”
"The new reefer containers undergo intensive tests before they are made available for our customers to transport their valuable freight,” assures Frank Nachbar, Director Container Engineering and Maintenance.
In addition to food products, Hapag-Lloyd also transports other sensitive products in reefer containers, such as high-value pharmaceuticals.
The new order will clearly expand the company’s footprint in this strategically important niche market.