Nairobi — Global shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has entered the East African market with weekly sailings between China, South-East Asia, Kenya and Tanzania.

In a statement, the company says it will deploy seven 2,800 TEU vessels to the service, which will arrive in Kenya and Tanzania next week and offer connections to Hapag-Lloyd’s global network.

“The new East Africa Service 3 (EAS3) will offer direct weekly sailings between China, South-East Asia, Kenya and Tanzania with very competitive transit times. In addition, the EAS3 will offer excellent connections to Hapag-Lloyd’s global network via the hub ports of Singapore, Port Kelang and Shanghai,” the company said.

Hapag-Lloyd entered the Sub-Sahara African market about 13 years ago and has seen steady and significant growth in transported volumes to and from Africa since then.

In East Africa, the China Kenya Express Service (CKX) connects Kenya with some of the most important ports in Asia, such as Singapore and Shanghai, while the East Africa Service 2 (EAS2) connects the East African country with the west coast of India and Jebel Ali in Dubai.

The company says in March 2021, it opened a new office in Kenya to better serve and be closer to its customers. The global firm added that while the main business will be managed from the port city of Mombasa, the company will also have an office in Nairobi.

Hapag-Lloyd also serves landlocked East African countries – such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan – with regular inland connections to and from Mombasa.

As part of its growth strategy, the shipping company says it will also endeavour to develop inland connections to Somalia, Southern Ethiopia and Northern Tanzania.

“Hapag-Lloyd has been steadily expanding its business in East Africa in recent years as part of our strategic focus on selected growth markets worldwide,” said Dheeraj Bhatia, Senior Managing Director Region Middle East at Hapag-Lloyd. “Our new EAS3 service will create a new option for our customers and help us to forge even stronger connections between this flourishing region and the rest of the world.”

Hapag-Lloyd has also been strengthening its offerings and presence in West Africa in recent years. For example, in October 2019 the Middle East India Africa Express (MIAX) service has been launched, providing direct and fast connections between Middle East, India, South Africa and key markets in West Africa such as Ghana and Nigeria.

In September 2020, a new office was opened in Lagos, Nigeria. And, in mid-March 2021, Hapag-Lloyd has signed a sale and purchase agreement with the Dutch container shipping company NileDutch.