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Maersk, APL, Hapag to carry US Afghanistan hardware

Maersk, APL, Hapag to carry US Afghanistan hardware
The $7bn logistical task of withdrawing US military equipment from Afghanistan will involve Maersk, APL and Hapag-Lloyd.

Tens of thousands of teus of equipment will be trucked out of Afghanistan by NATO forces ahead of the withdrawal deadline in 2014. For the US, loads will make their way by road and rail to Pakistan's port of Karachi and the Baltic ports of Riga in Latvia and Klaipeda in Lithuania.

The US's 22,000 teu of military equipment will be split between the two routes, with 60% of mostly non-lethal cargo taking the shorter route through uneasy ally Pakistan to the Arabian Sea and the remainder making the lengthy trek Northwest some 8500 miles through Russia and former Soviet states, to the Baltic ports.

The Afghan withdrawal is a different scenario to the 20,000 teu withdrawal from Iraq just two years ago, where fighting had almost completely stopped and neighbouring Kuwait were happy to stockpile US equipment ahead of shipment.