MSC refocuses services

Dec 23, 2002
Author: P&S

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is reorganising services between South Africa and Europe, Australia and the Indian Ocean Islands from January 2003.

"This is to establish the integrity of our named day services which during the past 5-6 months have been completely disrupted by the congestion in the South African ports," Captain Salvatore Sarno, managing director of MSC in SA told Ports & Ships.

MSC vessels employed on the Europe-SA service currently go on to Australian ports, returning via South Africa. The new services will provide a dedicated Europe-SA-Europe service as well as a separate dedicated service between SA and Australia, with the latter including several Indian Ocean Islands (IOL) to provide a named day service to the islands for the first time.

The new Europe-SA dedicated fixed day weekly service from major European ports will deploy seven vessels on a port rotation of Felixstowe, one German port, Antwerp, Le Havre, Las Palmas, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and back to Europe.

"We have excellent connections at Las Palmas for Mediterranean cargo and greater schedule integrity will be achieved through lower transit volumes in Durban and additional flexibility allowed in the schedule," Sarno said.

New Australia leg
A new dedicated service connects the major South African ports with Australia via Port Louis on the eastbound leg to Australia, and via Port Louis and Pointe des Galets (Reunion) on the return leg. This new service commences on 18 January with the vessel MSC Insa (a one-off) followed by four dedicated ships - MSC Namibia, MSC Denise, MSC Jessica and MSC Paola.

The fully cellular ships carry 1,400TEUs at a speed of 20 knots. They will arrive at Durban every Thursday and sail every Saturday morning arriving Port Louis every Wednesday.

The vessels ex Europe will arrive at Cape Town every Sunday and Port Elizabeth every Tuesday and will pick up containers for IOI/Australia to connect with the direct service in Durban. A truly named day service.

This is designed to preserve and accommodate MSC's existing cargo interests between the three continents and continue to serve USA customers moving their cargo via SA.

"This move will considerably improve the services offered with a better transit time, which will no longer be subjected to any possible delays in the Australian ports. The Indian Ocean Islands service will now also become a true named day service. This change will help considerably the port congestion in Durban and Cape Town because the company will have two less vessel calls per week, thus creating more berth availability."

The breakbulk service to the Indian Ocean Islands (a tradition for MSC for the past 20 years) will continue to b performed by the multi-purpose ships MSC Daniela and MSC Angela on a fortnightly basis.
Sarno said this once again demonstrated MSC's flexibility and willingness to help a port situation that was becoming untenable, especially for MSC, which is the biggest user of the South African port container system.

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