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Maersk to redesign ocean network in West and Central Asia

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Improved speed to market, predictability and flexibility to customers’ supply chains form the backbone of the rejig that includes introduction of new services ME4, ME7 and FI4 amongst other changes.

Photo by AP Moller Maersk
Photo by AP Moller Maersk

Maersk is redesigning its ocean network in West & Central Asia that connects countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia to the world. The changes in network are primarily aimed at improving speed to market, providing higher predictability and offering more flexibility to customers.

Further, redesigning the network will also bring more resilience to the customers’ supply chains, protecting them more from operational challenges that arise out of contingencies.

“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chains have experienced a perfect storm. The unprecedented scale of operational challenges restricting supply during the pandemic and the strong demand surge in parallel led to significant bottlenecks, capacity issues and unforeseen delays across supply chains. This prompted us to redesign our ocean network to overcome these challenges and make our customers supply chains more resilient,” says Mads Skov-Hansen, Head of Liner Operations Cluster, Maersk West & Central Asia.

Improved speed to market

  • The new ME4 service will offer a direct coverage between Doha and North Europe, thus improving speed to market by up to 5 days and by up to 6 days from Jebel Ali to West Africa for majority of customers.
  • The ME3 service connecting fresh produce exporters from Pakistan to Russia will see an improvement in what are already ‘best-in-industry’ transit times. This will further reduce wastage of the fresh produce by maintaining its integrity through end-to-end cold chain logistics offered by Maersk in Pakistan.
  • The FI3 service will change from fortnightly to weekly giving frequent options for importers getting cargo from Far East into North India.

Improved predictability and flexibility

  • The ME7 service will connect South India’s lifestyle, retail and automotive manufacturing sector directly to Europe. The cargo will thus flow smoothly without getting affected by unforeseen delays in case of congestions.
  • The ME7 service will also provide a direct and regular rotation between the hubs of Colombo and Salalah, thus letting customers have a more flexible option of moving their cargo.
  • The new FI4 service, that combines previous Jade Express and Chennai Express, will connect South East Asia with India and Pakistan on a single direct service.

“Our customers deserve a predictable service that will allow them to plan their supply chains better. With our redesigned ocean network, we are not only providing our customers with predictability and resilience, but also greater speed to market allowing them optimise their inventories and operations to meet the surge in demand with a competitive edge,” says Bhavan Vempati, Regional Head of Ocean Management, Maersk West & Central Asia.

As a part of redesigning of the network, the ME6 service as well as transhipment on AE1 at Colombo will be discontinued. Customers will continue to have the options to connect their cargo on a full array of services calling West & Central Asia. The network changes will be implemented in a phased manner and will not affect the total deployed capacity in the global network.