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Jordan's Aqaba port expands servicesThursday, February 26, 2015 > 10:14:27
Jordan announced in mid-February that the port of Aqaba will be offering new services linking it to ports in southern India and the western Mediterranean.
The new ME5 service, launched by Maersk Line Jordan, an international shipping and logistics company, aims to improve maritime transport networks with the kingdom's only port, said the company's regional managing director Anne Gronbjerg.
It will do this by adopting the rapid direct sea routes model to provide larger geographical coverage while securing the fastest transit, shipping and delivery times, she said.
The new service will directly link the port of Aqaba to the ports of Jeddah, Salala, Djibouti, Colombo and Chennai in the East, in addition to Port Said, Algeciras, Valencia and Genoa in the West.
Speaking at the February 12th launch, Jordanian Minister of Transport Lina Shabib said the maritime sector is one of the most important and vital sectors in the kingdom as it directly impacts several sectors of the economy.
The sector plays an important role in fostering economic and social development and helps to stimulate safe transport and raise public safety standards, she said, adding that the new service will enhance trade in Jordan.
"Launching the new service will improve connections between global maritime networks and the kingdom's port by providing wider geographical coverage of key global trade hubs in light of current conditions and situations in neighboring countries," she said.
The service will strengthen the efficiency and credibility of maritime services to and from Aqaba and link it directly with major international ports in a way that serves Jordan’s economy and trade and that of other countries in the region, Shabib said.
Economist Hossam Ayesh said the new service is vital to the Jordanian economy.
"The Aqaba seaport is considered one of the most important ports in the region since Jordan is an active country in import and export," he said.
The service "provides direct linkages with major ports and this will increase productivity of investments and industries in the kingdom", he added.
There has been heightened freight movement at the port of Aqaba, partly due to the current situation in the region, Ayesh told Al-Shorfa, noting that "Jordan is a key gateway to neighboring markets".
Forging connections with additional ports will contribute towards bringing investment to Jordan and promoting the kingdom, he said, adding that the increase in maritime freight will result in new jobs and boost the economy.
COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC INCREASE
Merchant Mohammed Abu al-Aynain, who imports frozen meat and poultry, said more linkages with key ports will increase the efficiency of his operation.
"When shipments arrive quicker, especially those coming from Latin America, that means huge savings for us since we will not need storage for longer periods of time for goods," he told Al-Shorfa.
"This is a good service and we support such efforts," he said.
Mousa Zaabalawi, a clothing importer, said expediting shipment arrivals would help boost commercial activity in the kingdom.
"Before the Syrian crisis, most of our clothes imports came from Syria but after the spread of violence and terrorism and the halt of shipments coming from Syria, I decided to increase my imports from east Asian countries," he said.
"For this reason, a direct service with east Asia is very important," he added.
"A direct link would bring down costs and increase our exports to neighbouring countries, particularly in light of the huge decrease in operations from Syrian ports," Zaabalawi said.