Container shipper Maersk Line has introduced its first direct service from Northern Europe to Cuba, beginning on Friday April 22 with the arrival of the 2,556 TEU containership E.R. Cape Town in the Port of Mariel, located 50 kilometers from Havana.
The Cuba call is part of Maersk Line’s CRX – Southbound service from Northern Europe to Manzanillo, Panama, providing customers fast transits from North European ports of Bremerhaven, Tilbury, Rotterdam and Cork. A weekly feeder service further connects to Santiago in the southeastern area of Cuba.
According to Omar Shamsie, Maersk Line’s president for Latin America and the Caribbean, “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.”
Recent years have seen Cuba’s container market grow at a pace of 10-15 percent per annum, driven by infrastructure investments and modernization projects, such as the creation of the Special Economic Zone of Mariel and the refurbishing of the old Havana Port for Cruises.
The country has also undergone a series of structural economic changes that have positively impacted its development by allowing 100 percent private investments in certain industries as well as the resumed diplomatic relations with the U.S.