The MIAX service will offer direct connections and fast transit lines between South and West Africa, the Persian Gulf, India, Sri Lanka and Reunion. The MIAX service will be connected to the Global Mainline Network via the key ports of Jebel Ali in Dubai and Colombo.
Hapag-Lloyd will jointly operate the MIAX service with Ocean Network Express.
Capt. Dheeraj Bhatia, senior managing director of Hapag-Lloyd in the Middle East, said at the event that the new MIAX service will allow its customers to benefit from a wider range of fast and flexible connections.
“Africa is a huge continent and South Africa is not the only entry point for distribution,” commented Bhatia. He further said congestion at African ports remains a concern as well as connectivity challenges with the hinterland. Costs related to using African ports are also in general regarded as high.
According to Cornelis van der Waal, Wesgro’s chief research officer, the new MIAX service shows the international interest in exploring opportunities in Africa.
“Yes, we would be naïve to think SA is thew only gateway into the continent. However, at the same time, SA has the most sophisticated infrastructure and we have strong trade relationships with the rest of the world,” he told Fin24.
According to Velile Dube, acting chief operations officer of Transnet Port Terminals, commented that industrial action in July caused a lot of congestion at SA ports, but that operations have been stabilised in the meantime.
He also said the new service also shows that with the right partner the potential of multi-purpose port terminals can be increased to in turn increase greater intra-African trade as well.