Russian train loaded with Maersk containers, source: Russian Railways (RZD)

Maersk’s intermodal service Japan/Korea now also eastbound

Maersk has launched its first eastbound train from St. Petersburg port to Korea and Japan. On 28 March a train loaded with plywood and chemical products from North Europe departed the port of Vostochniy in the Russian Far East. Here, the containers will be loaded on Maersk’s short-sea vessels for delivery to Korea and Japan. The overall transit time of the new intercontinental service is between 23 and 32 days, a reduction by half compared to 52-57 days by sea.

Maersk dubbed the new line the ‘AE19 service’, which it launched in August 2019 in partnership with Russian partners Modul and Global Ports. At that time, the train departed in western direction from the Korean port of Busan. In eighteen days it reached the Polish port of Gdansk.

Time sensitive goods

The main aim is to offer a complementary product for more time-sensitive cargoes moving from Asia to Europe, connecting the ports of Vostochniy and St. Petersburg in Russia, Maersk explains. “AE19 service provides our customers not only with a faster delivery solution, but also at a lower cost than airfreight.”

The westbound service witnessed steady growth since the beginning of 2020, which enabled  shipments in the opposite direction, the intermodal operator says. “Customer demand to develop the eastbound service, especially within the automotive, technology, chemicals and industrial verticals, has further led to the launch of this service”, shares Kasper Krog, Head of Intercontinental Rail at A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Next departures

The next eastbound shipment on AE19 from St. Petersburg will depart on 8 April. After that, the service will be offered on fortnightly basis.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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