A new direct service to St. Petersburg17 August 2012
By the end of August, CMA CGM will extend its Europe-Caribbean Service (ECS) to St. Petersburg and
Tallinn. Consequently, the number of ships deployed will increase from six to
eight units of around 2,000 TEU each. The revised route will be: Rotterdam, Hamburg, St Petersburg,
Tallinn, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, Kingston, Cartagena, Santo Tomas de Castilla, Puerto
Cortes, Puerto Limon, Kingston and back to Rotterdam.
With its ECS initiative, CMA CGM enters into direct competition to Maersk Line’s Caribbean Express
(CRX), which is currently the only other direct full container link between Central America and Russia’s
main banana import port. Last June, MSC put a stop to its Central America-North Europe and direct Baltic
link, which it operated for about a year. Since early 2009, the Danish carrier has also called at St. Petersburg
with its predominantly Ecuador-based Ecubex, which depending on the season, also includes Central
American ports en-route. However, the French line’s direct deepsea box call at Tallinn (Estonia) is an absolute
novelty. As the ships it currently uses are not (more expensive) ice-class, it remains to be seen
whether it will become a year-round operation.