Maersk Line is to extend its India and Middle East to Turkey service ‘ME3’ into the Black Sea. As of next week, the loop will be lengthened from Istanbul-Ambarli, so far its western terminus, to serve the Russian port of Novorossiysk.
In order to maintain transit times to and from Turkey at a competitive level, the ports of Mersin, Ambarli (Istanbul) and Izmit will henceforce be called twice on each cycle – before and after the Black Sea leg. This double coverage will also allow Maersk to use the Novorossiysk leg as an additional Black Sea Feeder from Turkey, as well as from Egypt, where the loop already features double calls at Port Said.
As a consequence of the extension, the round trip duration of the ‘ME3’ will be stretched from 42 days to 49 days. A seventh ship, the 5,060 teu panamax SCT ZURICH, will phase in soon to maintain weekly fixed-day departures.
The extended rotation of the loop looks as follows: Mersin, Izmit, Ambarli (Istanbul Area), Novorossiysk, Mersin, Ambarli (Istanbul Area), Izmit, Port Said, Suez Canal (way point), Jeddah, Jebel Ali, Pipavav, Hazira, Nhava Sheva, Jebel Ali, Salalah, Suez Canal (way point), Port Said, Mersin.
Capacity on this service is also marketed by Safmarine, which advertises the service as its ‘PRIME3’.