Brazilian link boosts Sharjah's hub

Arrival of 'Rio Grande' highlights Khorfakkan's growing status as a gateway to the Gulf.
Brazilian link boosts Sharjah's hub
By Daniel Canty
Wed 14 Mar 2007 01:13 PM

The Khorfakkan container terminal in Sharjah saw its first direct service from South America this week with the arrival of the 1700 TEU CMA CGM Rio Grande.

The arrival of the Rio Grande at midnight on March 12

marks the inauguration of a weekly service that will expedite trade from Brazil to the rapidly expanding markets of the Gulf, and boost opportunities for Middle Eastern exporters to South African markets on the outbound leg.

"We are really delighted with this new and direct service from South America using Khorfakkan as a distribution hub for the area," said Peter Richards, Gulftainer director and general manager.

The arrival coincides with the news that the Sharjah terminal handled 10% more containers in January 2007 compared with 2006. Volumes grew thanks to growing demands for access to the UAE's main centres via more accessible gateways. The terminal has also seen an increase in the number of ship calls - which is linked by the customs bonded mini bridge to Sharjah Inland Container Depot.

"The increase in volume at our Khorfakkan terminal in January has been achieved as a result of Khorfakkan's unique and strategic location, its enhanced facilities and the ease with which containers can be distributed quickly into all parts of the UAE," added Richards.

The ‘Vasco' service covering Brazilian ports to and from the Middle East and South Asia will boost the Gulf's capacity to handle rising regional demand for South American refrigerated products.

"Clearly, judging by the volumes on the first sailing, and the appetite in this region for South American goods, the introduction of this new link will be a big success," said Richards.

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