Emirates Shipping Line (ESL), a leading container shipowner and operator in the Middle East, will implement a rate increase next month for trade from India, Pakistan and the Middle East to East Africa.
Effective February 17, the increased rates will be $300 (Dh1,102) per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), the Dubai-based carrier stated in a notice to the trade on Tuesday. ESL said the increase follows serious erosion in rate levels, coupled with soaring operational costs on the route.
The move comes just after Geneva-based Medit-erranean Shipping Co announced a similar hike, also effective February 17.
The firm has also replaced its Chief Executive Officer Vikas Mohammed Khan with Romi Kaushal. "The economic crisis of today is indeed of vast proportions, which requires extraordinary measures," said ESL.
The liner operator said the move will enable Khan "to fully concentrate on strategic manoeuvring, alliances and other arrangements", and to work with investors on the company's long-term corporate strategy. The liner recently entered a long-term exclusive terminal service agreement with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
ESL ships will call at the state-owned Jaya Container Terminal and the firm will use Colombo Port as a hub to service its markets in the Far East, India, the Middle East and East Africa.
ESL was founded in 2006 and has been growing at an average of 30 per cent year-on-year. However, the global downturn in the container shipping industry forced it to exit the United States market in May. But the liner continues to see opportunities in the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and Africa regions, which have not witnessed a severe volume crunch.
ESL is particularly keen on expanding services on its route between Jebel Ali and East African ports, where it sees huge potential for business. It will introduce more vessels on the route starting from the second quarter of 2009 and hopes that this will help boost its market share on the continent.