Bangalore: The world’s second biggest container shipping firm, Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA (MSC), has teamed up with Shipping Corp. of India (SCI) to run a fixed-day, weekly direct service from India to Europe.
New allies: A cargo ship at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port. The service links JN Port (Mumbai) and Mundra (Gujarat) with European ports. Ashesh Shah / Mint
Four other partners had pulled out recently from the service due to lower freight rates and low demand.
“Since other partners pulled out of the India Subcontinent Europe (ISE) service, SCI and MSC have agreed to run the service jointly with seven ships,” said Anand Chopra, senior vice-president (container services and marketing) at state-owned SCI. Each ship can load 4,300 standard containers.
Zim Integrated Shipping Services (I) Pvt. Ltd, MISC Bhd, K-Line and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. had withdrawn from the service in the past few months. The service linked Jawaharlal Nehru (JN) Port, India’s busiest container cargo handler, and Mundra port in Gujarat with European ports such as Barcelona, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Felixstowe. The restructured service will start operating from 16 May.
“With the introduction of the ISE service, MSC will now be offering a twice weekly direct sailing to all its customers both from north, west, south and east India to Europe and Mediterranean,” said Deepak Tewari, chief executive of MSC Agency (India) Pvt. Ltd, the Indian unit of MSC.
The cost of moving a standard cargo container from India to Europe has plunged almost 70% to $350 (Rs17,500) from about $1,200 in August, as the economic downturn slowed demand for goods to Europe. SCI’s Chopra said demand continues to be depressed, but the partners are optimistic of volumes.