The Mediterranean Shipping Line on Monday announced that it plans to launch a new intra-India feeder which is to link the northeast Indian ports of Nhava Sheva, Hazira and Mundra.
Such a move would make sense for MSC, since it would not only add Hazira to the carrier’s portfolio and therewith increase the shipping line’s presence in India’s heavily-industrialised Gujarat state, but also allow MSC to feeder containers to and from Mundra, where its sister company Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) is a major stakeholder in the new Adani International Container Terminal.
As a pure intra-India loop, the new service would however be subject to Indian cabotage regulations. This means it will have to be operated by Indian-flagged and Indian-crewed tonnage. Hence, it is still not known whether MSC intends to operate the service itself, buy slots on vessels of Indian operators or let an Indian company run the loop in its behalf.
MSC said that the new loop was scheduled to start in early August. The one-ship service is scheduled to turn in one week, offering fixed-day weekly departures.
The new service is part of an MSC initiative to increase direct links to northeast Indian ports. This month, the carrier had already scrapped a number of weekly Salalah-India feeders and extended two moderate-capacity East-Africa to Middle East mainline services to India instead.
It appears that MSC is increasingly building Mundra into an alternative gateway into India. The port is already visited by several weekly deep-sea mainline services of the carrier. In addition to the aforementioned, these include the Europe to India and Pakistan loops ‘IPAK’ and ‘ISES’ and a South Africa loop.
Further details of MSC’s new intra-India service are expected to become available soon.