Hapag-Lloyd is launching a new East Africa Service 3 (EAS3)in late April that will expand the shipping line's network particularly between Asia and East Africa.
The new EAS3 will offer direct weekly sailings between China, South-East Asia, Kenya and Tanzania with very competitive transit times," it said in a statement, adding that it will be launched in late April enabling its customers to avail of better connectivity between Asia and East Africa.
"The EAS3 will offer excellent connections to Hapag-Lloyd’s global network via the hub ports of Singapore, Port Kelang and Shanghai," it added.
Hapag-Lloyd noted that seven 2,800 TEU vessels will be deployed in the service, including two provided by Hapag-Lloyd.
Steady growth in Africa market
"Hapag-Lloyd entered the Sub-Sahara African market about 13 years ago and has seen steady and significant growth in transported volumes to and from Africa since then," it said.
In East Africa, the China Kenya Express Service (CKX) connects Kenya with some of the most important ports in Asia, such as Singapore and Shanghai, while the East Africa Service 2 (EAS2) connects the East African country with the west coast of India and Jebel Ali in Dubai.
In March 2021, Hapag-Lloyd also opened its own new office in Kenya to better serve and be closer to its customers in this thriving economic hub of East Africa. While the main business will be managed from the port city of Mombasa, the company will also have an office in Nairobi, the country’s capital.
Hapag-Lloyd also serves landlocked East African countries – such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan – with regular inland connections to and from Mombasa.
As part of its growth strategy, the shipping company said it will also endeavour to develop inland connections to Somalia, Southern Ethiopia and Northern Tanzania.
“Hapag-Lloyd has been steadily expanding its business in East Africa in recent years as part of our strategic focus on selected growth markets worldwide,” said Dheeraj Bhatia, senior managing director Region Middle East at Hapag-Lloyd.
“Our new EAS3 service will create a new option for our customers and help us to forge even stronger connections between this flourishing region and the rest of the world.”
West Africa expansion
Hapag-Lloyd has also been strengthening its offerings and presence in West Africa in recent years, it said.
In October 2019 the Middle East India Africa Express (MIAX) service has been launched, providing direct and fast connections between the Middle East, India, South Africa and key markets in West Africa such as Ghana and Nigeria.
In September 2020, a new office was also opened in Lagos, Nigeria. And, in mid-March 2021, Hapag-Lloyd has signed a sale and purchase agreement with the Dutch container shipping company NileDutch.
"The acquisition of NileDutch allows customers to benefit from an even denser network and a much higher frequency of sailings, particularly from and to locations in West and South Africa," it said, noting that currently, the completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of the responsible antitrust authorities.
Hapag-Lloyd now has five own offices on the continent: in South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. In addition, it recently opened a Quality Service Center in Mauritius.
The first westbound voyage of the EAS3 will start in Shanghai on 29 April 2021 with an estimated arrival in Mombasa on 23 May 2021. Further vessel and schedule details will be announced as soon as possible.
The port rotation will be Shanghai - Ningbo - Nansha - Singapore - Port Kelang - Mombasa - Dar Es Salaam - Port Kelang - Singapore - Shanghai.