Just over one month after slowing to a seven-week rotation, ocean carrier Maersk Line has added an eighth vessel to its weekly Middle East-to-South Africa MESA service, further increasing roundtrip voyage time from 49 days to 56 days, to skip a sailing position from the Middle East in November.
Transit times southbound from the Middle East to South Africa on the MESA have been increased by about seven days as vessels slow-steam one extra week between Toamasina, Madagascar and Port Elizabeth, South Africa, now taking 35 days from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Port Elizabeth. The service is scheduled to skip one sailing position commencing Dubai on Nov. 2.
reported Aug 24
that Maersk added an additional vessel to the MESA and slowed roundtrip voyage time on the service from 42 days to 49 days after several months at regular speed. As reported at that time, Maersk simultaneously increased average vessel capacity on the MESA from 2,235 TEUs to 3,485 TEUs, an increase of nearly 56 percent.
Back in April, Maersk had resumed a six-week roundtrip voyage time after a previous two-month slowdown on the MESA and added new calls at the Indian Ocean ports of Reunion Island, Port Louis, and Toamasina, as well as the carrier’s major Middle East hub at Salalah, also Port Elizabeth in South Africa (reported by American Shipper April 12
The rotation of MESA remains Dubai, Salalah, Reunion Island, Port Louis, Toamasina, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Port Louis, and Dubai. The service is currently operated by eight Maersk vessels with an average capacity of 3,514 TEUs. Subsidiary Safmarine continues to purchase slots.
MESA is now one of four Maersk and Safmarine services that connect the Middle East directly with the African continent, but the only one that calls South Africa and, since the termination of the carrier’s Indian Ocean service (reported by American Shipper April 23
), it is also the carrier’s only direct weekly connection between the Salalah hub and the Indian Ocean ports of Reunion Island, Port Louis, and Toamasina. - ComPair Data
, Ben Meyer