Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, a number of container services are being launched, or upgraded, to provide enhanced links to Middle East markets.
APL, for example, has recently announced a revised port rotation for its Gulf Asia Express 2 (GA2) service. The changes allow access to the Taiwan export market via Kaoshiung and the import market via both Kaoshiung and Taipei. With the addition of a Vung Tau port call, GA2 also now offers direct access to Vietnam from Middle East, through the ports of Jebel Ali and Umm Qasr.
Meanwhile the first ever direct link between the US West Coast port of Oakland and the Middle East has been started, by Japan’s ONE line. Eight 14,000 teu container vessels are being deployed in the Far East-Pacific 2 services which will call into Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah port. Until now, ships from the Middle East handled Oakland-bound cargo through transhipment at intermediate ports.