Thamesport (London), Limited announced that the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) (‘Intermediate’ string) will commence calls at the Medway port from 29th March 2007, with the arrival of the 1,800-teu Sirius.
The SAECS service is jointly operated by Maersk Line, Safmarine Container Lines N.V., Deutsche Afrika-Linien GmbH & Co. KG (DAL), and Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).
In order to be able to accommodate the refrigerated cargo that will be a key feature of this service, Thamesport has embarked upon a program to upgrade its refrigerated handling capacity. New ‘reefer gantries’ will be installed in the automated storage areas at the Port, which will allow containers to be stacked four high, instead of the previous three high. This upgrade will enhance the capacity for ‘live’ refrigerated containers from 360 plug-in points to 440 points. It is expected that the improvements will be completed by May 2007.
Chris Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Hutchison Ports (UK), Limited, which owns Thamesport (London), Limited, commented:
‘We are extremely pleased to be chosen as the new UK port of call for the ‘Intermediate’ string of the prestigious SAECS service. We are committed to providing our customers with a first-class level of service, and the improvements that we are making to ‘reefer’ facilities, in particular, at Thamesport will help to ensure that we are able to meet the shipping lines’ expectations.’
A total of seven vessels are deployed on the service, each with a capacity of 1,800 teus: MOL Springbok, MOL Drakensberg, DAL East London, CAP Arnauti, Safmarine Memling, Safmarine Mbashe and Sirius.
The service will offer a fixed weekly sailing from Thamesport, with the following port rotation: East London, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Lisbon, Thamesport, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Le Havre, Lisbon, Cape Town, East London.