Citrus season upgrade: Maersk to ditch ‘KNSM’ in favour of two direct Morocco – St Petersburg links

Aleksi Lindstöm

The 868 teu ANNA SIRKKA, to be deployed on the new express Agadir – St Petersburg service / Credit: Aleksi Lindstroem

Maersk and its intra-Europe affiliate Seago Line will replace their weekly Scandinavia and Northern Europe to Morocco ‘KNSM’ service with two new weekly loops. Unlike the ‘KNSM’, which turns at the Swedish port of Helsingborg, the two successor loops, scheduled to take over in late October, will both extend further northeast to St Petersburg.

The capacity expansion and the service extension to St Petersburg are timed to coincide with the start of the trade’s winter citrus season. Both new services will offer weekly departures from Morocco’s main fruit export gateways Casablanca and Agadir.

The first service will turn in three weeks and offer an ‘express’ coverage with nonstop sailings from Morocco to Russia. The loop will trade along the following rotation: Casablanca, Agadir, Kiel Canal (way point), St Petersburg, Kiel Canal (way point), Rotterdam, Casablanca

The ice-classed 868 teu ‘Sietas 168’ type ANNA SIRKKA (234 reefer plugs) will be deployed, alongside a further two yet to be nominated ships.

The second new loop will turn in four weeks and will cover a somewhat higher number of ports. It will call at: Casablanca, Agadir, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Kiel Canal (way point), St Petersburg, Gdansk, Kiel Canal (way point), Bremerhaven, Antwerp, Casablanca.

The first ship to join the service will be the ice-classed 1,036 WES AMELIE. Three further ships are to be nominated soon.

All seven ships to be employed on the two new loops will feature ice class in order to maintain coverage of St Petersburg throughout the winter season.

In order to uphold the Sweden and Denmark coverage of the to-be-closed ‘KNSM’ service, a new Copenhagen and Helsingborg leg will be added to Maersk’s existing Bremerhaven-based Finland butterfly service, which therewith mutates into a triple-wing butterfly.

In its present form, the butterfly had been created in early September, when a Riga and Helsinki calls were added. With a fourth ship added, the service’s fleet now performs three alternating rotations ex Bremerhaven. A Russia-Finland wing, a Latvia-Finland wing, and a (new) Denmark-Sweden wing: Bremerhaven,St Petersburg, Rauma, Bremerhaven, Riga, Helsinki, Bremerhaven, Copenhagen, Helsingborg, Bremerhaven.

In addition to Maersk-Seago, CMA CGM has already boosted its Europe to Morocco coverage for the citrus season with the re-launch of its ‘Dunkrus’ service.

Maersk’s offer is however special, because of the Danish carrier’s direct links to St Petersburg.

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