Hong Kong-based OOCL has confirmed that it will be extending its Mediterranean service network to the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent by introducing a new Middle East / Pakistan / India to West Mediterranean Service (WM3) in March.
The WM3 provides direct connections between ports in the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Italy, Spain, France and Egypt, with the aim of offering more competitive and reliable services than transshipment options. OOCL claims it will provide the fastest transit times between the Middle East and the West Mediterranean region, particularly to the Italian market.
A fixed day weekly sailing schedule will be maintained, with a 49 day round voyage time. Ports served include Jebel Ali, Khor Fakkan, Karachi, Mundra, Nhava Sheva, Jeddah, Damietta, Malta, La Spezia, Genoa, Fos, Barcelona, Valencia and Tangier. The first vessel, Ningbo Express, will leave Khor Fakkan on March 1st on the maiden sailing of the WM3 service.
OOCL points out that it will in future use two strategic hubs in the Middle East, Khor Fakkan and Jebel Ali. This will allow the line to better connect services to its feeder networks in the region, thereby increasing operational flexibility and opening up more shipping options to customers.