It has never been easier selling internationally out of Saint John

By Christopher Williams

When Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) – the world’s second largest container line made its first call on May 8, 2012, it was the first time in 25 years a global shipping company provided regular container service at Saint John.

The 202-metre MSC Elena was the line’s first ship to make bi-weekly calls from Montreal to Saint John, and then proceeding South to Caucedo, Dominican Republic, and Freeport, Bahamas. From there, MSC connects with nearly 500 ships in its fleet and 341 ports on six continents.

“This new service is the combination of a lot of effort by people at the Port and MSC,” said Jim Quinn, President and CEO of Saint John Port Authority (SJPA). “It’s a key step in our port renewal strategy and a commitment from a major container line that complements our existing service through Tropical Shipping. MSC adds another piece of the puzzle that contributes to New Brunswick prosperity,” acknowledged Quinn.

A reception and plaque exchange welcomed Captain, Deepak Kadam, Master of the Elena. “We’re going where our other carriers can take cargo around the world,” he said. “This is the right size of vessel and will be a good fit for Saint John.” Captain Kadam and his crew enjoyed the warm hospitality of several dignitaries and a panoramic view of the harbour.

Sokat Shaikh, President of MSC Canada, says the company wants to show its commitment to Canada by “taking the plunge” and investing here. “We are honoured to be part of the renewal strategy of Port Saint John and the means of creating new, international business opportunities for industries of New Brunswick,” said Shaikh, a marketing and international business graduate of Concordia University in his native Montreal.