Russian railways
Industry Europe

Maersk Launches Weekly Asia – Europe Freight Service

Shipping giant Maersk has launched a new AE77 intermodal service between Europe and Asia as the company continues to build its end-to-end supply chain. It will be using the Trans-Siberian route to connect Asia with the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean.

The first containers coming from Asia on the new weekly service arrived at the Russian port of Vostochny. The containers were then dispatched by train from the port of Novorossiysk, before travelling by sea to destinations in Ukraine and Turkey.

They completed the transit in about 25 days, increasing flexibility and reliability as an alternative to ocean routes.

"The launch of AE77 is an important milestone in Maersk´s expansion of our trans-continental intermodal offering, combining rail and sea. The new route is an excellent alternative since our customers can be confident about fixed-day arrival and have full flexibility between various delivery options that best match their logistics needs," explained Zsolt Katona, Head of Maersk Eastern Europe.

Similar to Maersk’s AE19 intermodal service from Asia to northern Europe, this new AE77 service from Asia to the Black Sea and the East Mediterranean area uses the Trans-Siberian route. The largest part of the trip takes place across Siberia using the Russian railways’ infrastructure, arranged in cooperation with rail company Modul.

"Our ultimate aim is to offer our customers a reliable and flexible option, a service that runs without bottlenecks, and with fast transit times of about 25 to 30 days," said Katona.

Given the increasing customer demand of these two services, A.P. Moller – Maersk has deployed an additional vessel between Busan, at the Southern part of the Korean peninsula, and Vostochny, the intermodal container port at the eastern end of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

"Together with our partners, we continue to launch new transit services between Europe and Asia. These intermodal solutions are offering outstanding transit times, fixed schedule and competitive pricing," added Alexey Shilo, Deputy General Manager at Russian Railways (RZD).

The new route has been launched in a situation when supply chains will remain unreliable and container shipping prices and profits high for the rest of the year, according to Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk.

This is because of a combination of countries reopening after Covid-19, government and central bank stimulus, and the Suez Canal blockage disrupting global trade, the Chief Executive told the FT this week. He warned the exceptional situation of supply bottlenecks and high freight rates would last well into the fourth quarter.

His comments came as the Danish group delivered its strongest-ever quarter of profits in its 117-year history. The results came in a persistently difficult environment where countries are still contending with the effects of the pandemic.

"We remain focused on the long-term transformation of A.P. Moller - Maersk, prioritising customers’ demand for integrated logistics," affirmed Søren Skou.

A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S, known simply as Maersk, is a Danish integrated shipping company, active in ocean and inland freight transportation and associated services, such as supply chain management and port operation. Maersk has been the largest container shipping line and vessel operator in the world since 1996. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs approximately 80,000 people.