Maersk Line marked the introduction of its first direct service from Northern Europe to Cuba on Friday April 22, 2016 when a 2556 TEU container vessel arrived in the Port of Mariel, located 50 kilometres from the country’s capital, Havana.
The Cuba call is part of Maersk Line’s CRX – Southbound service from Northern Europe to Manzanillo, Panama, which provides customers the fastest transit times in the market from North European ports in Germany (Bremerhaven), United Kingdom (Tilbury), Netherlands (Rotterdam) and Ireland (Cork).
A weekly feeder service further connects to Santiago in the Southeastern area of Cuba.
Omar Shamsie, President of Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “The launch of our first direct standalone service between Cuba and Northern Europe marks our dedication to helping our customers reach new markets, while continuing to enable trade and economic development. We are very pleased with this development which also reflects our commitment to the trade.”
In recent years, the containerised market in Cuba has grown at a pace of 10-15% per annum.
Drivers for this have been infrastructure investments and modernisation projects, such as the creation of the Special Economic Zone of Mariel and the refurbishing of the old Havana Port.
The country has also undergone a series of structural economic changes that have had a positive impact on its development by allowing 100% private investments in certain industries and the resumed diplomatic relations with the US.