Maersk Line is to open a new service between the Panama Canal’s Pacific transhipment hub of Balboa and ports on the South America West Coast. The weekly loop will be branded as ‘Atacama feeder’ and from its Panama base port it will serve Ecuador, Peru and Chile.
The ‘Atacama’ will turn in three weeks and call at: Balboa, Esmeraldas, Callao, Iquique, Arica, Paita, Balboa.
Vessels to trade on the new service, which is expected to start in early June, have yet to be nominated.
The new loop adds to the existing intra-West Coast of Central and South America offer of Maersk Line, consisting of:
- The ‘Putumayo feeder’, between Balboa, Esmeraldas, Paita and Balboa; the Danish carrier operates the ‘Putumayo’ with two 2,556 teu vessels;
- The ‘Callao feeder’, between Balboa, Iquique, Arica, Callao, Buenaventura and Balboa; Maersk Line operates the ‘Callao feeder’ with three vessels of 2,400+ capacity;
- The Balboa – Caldera shuttle operated with the 1,122 teu ROTHORN ;
- Occasional slots on Transmares Peru – chile services.
Whether any of these services will be modified or even discontinued as a consequence of the ‘Atacama’ launch has yet to be determined.
Of note, the Atacama Desert, in Chile, is commonly known as the driest place in the world!