18 May 2023 MUSCAT: AP Moller – Maersk, the world’s leading maritime transport company, has announced the imminent launch of a new container service that will link Salalah and Duqm, among other regional ports, with European markets.
The ‘Al Maha’ – an ocean service connecting the Middle East and Europe markets – will cover key ports in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Egypt, and Morocco effective from June this year, the integrated logistics giant said in a statement on Wednesday.
Omani importers and exporters operating out of the Port of Duqm, which has made significant investments in a new, full-fledged Container Terminal, and Port of Salalah, a well-established logistics hub on the Indian Ocean coast, stand to benefit from the new services.
In particular, the Al Maha service will help spur the growth of the fisheries sector in Duqm, according to Maersk. “Oman’s Vision 2040 focuses on economic diversification, including creating a world-class fisheries sector that is ecologically sustainable and a net contributor to the economy of Oman. The Al Maha service, with its enhanced capacity, will be in an excellent position to support the anticipated growth in fish exports out of Duqm. At the same time, it will continue to deliver unmatched reliability to Maersk’s customers,” the shipping giant said.
Bhavan Vempati, Head of Regional Ocean Management, Maersk Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa, added: “Over the last few years, reliable and predictable supply chains that cater to the evolving consumer behaviours have emerged as the backbone of global trade. Having carefully studied our customers’ requirements arising out of the current market dynamics, we have designed the Al Maha service that will help our customers in driving value out of their supply chains.” Around seven vessels were be deployed as part of ‘Al Maha’, offering a nominal capacity of 8,500 TEUs per week and rotating between Port Tangiers – Port Said – Jeddah – Salalah – Jebel Ali – Doha – Dammam – Jubail – Jebel Ali – Duqm – Salalah – Jeddah – Port Said – Port Tangiers.
Of late, Maersk has enhanced its footprint in Oman’s maritime transport and logistics sector, beyond its longstanding presence at Port of Salalah where Maersk-subsidiary APM Terminals is the largest single shareholder in the port operating company.
Earlier this month, the Danish-based shipping conglomerate opened a new corporate office at Sohar Freezone – its third in Oman after Salalah and Muscat. The new office, it said, will enable Maersk to provide, in addition to ocean transportation, services such as landside transportation, including cross border movement of cargo, customs clearances, warehousing & distribution, cold chain logistics and air freight.
Last November, Port of Salalah announced a partnership with Maersk to launch a new multimodal transport solution to Al-Mazunah Free Zone on Oman’s border with Yemen. Designed to facilitate inland services, the new offering extends beyond the Port and includes securing customs clearances and bonded trucking services to Salalah and Al-Mazunah free zones hubs under carrier haulage.
Earlier, Maersk added Khazaen Dry Port (KDP) in Khazaen Economic City to its extensive ‘Port of Call’ network, offering transportation, container terminal, and reefer container services to import and export goods easily.