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China Shipping partners with IRISL in the Mediterranean

Shanghai:  China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) have set up a joint Asia-Mediterranean service that will operate with eight post-panamax ships averaging around 6,000 teu and sailing on a weekly basis. The service, launched this month, ranks among the top 10 services in the business in terms of capacity, and predominantly covers the central and western Mediterranean. IRISL will eventually deploy four new 6,500 teu vessels, currently being built in South Korea, on the route, while CSCL has transferred four similar-sized vessels that previously served the transpacific route.
Importantly, the service turns in Malta, thereby offering important trans-shipment facilities to North Africa for IRISL, which is fast developing an important feeder market in this region, mostly in Libya. This will be IRISL's first direct Asia-Mediterranean service from China and Southeast Asia.
For CSCL, the big plus is that the new service replaces the previous Asia-Mediterranean Express 1 service, which it ran alone, initially with eight 4,250 teu vessels a week. The service was reduced in December 2007 to a fortnightly frequency and eventually ceased altogether this month.
The port rotation of the new service is Tianjin, Dalian, Pusan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Port Kelang, Suez, Malta, Valencia, Barcelona, Genoa, Damietta, Tianjin.
Meanwhile, IRISL is also restructuring its service known as the Europe Container Line that covers the Far East, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Northern Europe.
While the Northern Europe-Far East leg will continue to be served through slots offered by CSCL's Asia Europe Express 1 (AEX1), the Northern Europe-Middle East sector will be served by a new loop deploying seven to eight vessels of around 2,700 teu capacity on a weekly basis. [19/05/08]


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