Box Move

Dec 11, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Colombo port stands to gain more container transhipment business with Maersk, the world biggest container shipping line by volume, deciding to stop direct calls at Chennai, officials said. Maersk Lines’ parent A P Moller-Maersk has reported a loss of 778 million dollars for the first nine months of the year.

Maersk is expected to loss about a billion dollars this year compared with a profit of 3.5 billion dollars a year earlier.

Most shipping lines have been suffering losses because of the slump in cargo volumes and freight rates. Maersk Line has announced it will stop direct calls at Chennai on its ‘MECL2’ service linking south Asia to North America with the last vessel calling at the south Indian port on February 5.

“This will mean more transhipment business for Colombo,” said Amal Rodrigo, country manager for Maersk Line.

“Instead of our ship going to Chennai and loading there, it will pick up the Chennai cargo from Colombo. There are fairly large export volumes from Chennai which will be sent on feeder vessels to Colombo.”

Maersk Line in its announcement to the trade said that while Chennai has been moved from the rotation of its ships, it will offer multiple