The changes affecting the globalised economy, and consequently international trade, are pushing shipping companies to adapt to an increasingly unstable and constantly changing scenario. In this context of growing competitiveness, shipowners are continually rethinking their regular shipping lines to provide better service to customers around the world and attract more cargo volume. The principal international shipping companies, either alone or as part of specific agreements or alliances, are increasing Barcelona’s maritime connectivity by offering new connections to key markets in the five continents.
Shipping companies are increasingly interested in the Port of Barcelona because of the growth in the economy of the hinterland it serves, which is increasingly committed to greater openness and international growth and because of the role the Port is taking on as Europe’s southern gateway and as a Mediterranean distribution hub.
South America, the Caribbean and West Africa
The new lines strengthen existing trade flows, such as the routes to South America and the Caribbean, or provide new services to regions with few connections until now, such as West Africa.
One example of this is the new service offered by the African company MNM African Shipping Line. This company, which was founded this year and is based in the port of Tanger Med and managed by transport and logistics managers from Morocco and Nigeria, aims to launch maritime services to connect the key ports of West Africa with those of the Mediterranean. Its area of influence – the countries of the African Atlantic coast – is home to 300 million people and is currently enjoying significant growth thanks to the use of its natural resources such as gas, oil, minerals, etc. and to improvements in agricultural production.
MNM’s new fortnightly service calls at Barcelona, Sagunto, Tangier, Casablanca, Agadir, Nouakchott, Dakar, Conakry, Lagos, Tema and Abidjan and is operated by 2,500 TEU capacity multipurpose vessels suitable for transporting special cargoes.
Barcelona-New York in 13 days
The ZIM shipping company has also launched a new regular service between Barcelona and New York. ZIM connects Barcelona directly to the east coast of North America: Halifax (with connections to Montreal and Toronto), New York, Norfolk and Savannah. This weekly service, called ZIM Container Service Atlantic (ZCA), has a competitive transit time, covering the route between Barcelona and New York in just 13 days.
Hapag-Lloyd is another shipping company that has brought new regular shipping lines into service in Barcelona. It offers eleven direct regular services between the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America, seven of which call at Barcelona, serving the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the Panama canal, and the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
This German shipping company, which is a member of the G6 alliance and has agreements with ZIM, has integrated its business with Chile’s Compañia Sudamericana de Vapores (CSAV), which is South America’s leading shipping company, adding the various regular lines offered separately by each company. The joint venture between both companies stands out for its size, with a fleet representing 7.6 million TEU in carrying capacity, and is especially well-placed for refrigerated container traffic, with 145,000 reefers of its own.
Best transit time for perishables
The CMA CGM shipping company, which is a member of the Ocean Three (O3) alliance, has brought the MEDGULF line into operation to connect Barcelona with various Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean ports. This new service is in addition to existing ones such as the Amerigo Express, which also connects Barcelona to the east coast of the United States, and Amerex 2, that stops over in Florida.
Traffic with the Gulf of Mexico is growing and the new line offers the best transit time between both destinations, especially favouring controlled-temperature cargo traffic. That is why the vessels that cover this service have a large number of connections for refrigerated containers.
This increased connectivity is the result not only of the new regular lines, but also thanks to improving existing ones. The MINA (Middle East – Indian Subcontinent – North America) / IMU / AMERIGO / MAX2 service, also operated by the O3 alliance with Hanjin, which until now stopped over in Barcelona heading west on the first leg of the outward journey from India to North America, now stops in Barcelona in both directions.
Source: Port de Barcelona News