Two leading global container shipping lines that operate regular services through the Port of Montreal have made significant headlines recently.

On the heels of the new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, Maersk Line has added a new service to its transatlantic network that includes Montreal.

Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd is celebrating a special milestone in 2017 by marking 125 years of operations in Canada.

Maersk adds new Mediterranean route

Danish ocean carrier Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, has increased its service capacity through the Port of Montreal by adding a new shipping route between Montreal and numerous ports on the Mediterranean. The weekly service, which began September 30, will tap into the new flow of goods expected with the implementation of CETA on September 21. Among other things, CETA will eliminate European tariffs on key Canadian exports.

The port rotation is Cagliari, Salerno, Livorno and Genoa, Italy; Fos-sur-Mer, France; Algeciras, Spain; Tangier, Morocco; Vigo, Spain; Montreal; Tangier; Valencia, Spain; and Cagliari.

“This additional route will improve the Port of Montreal’s service offering to companies in Canada and the U.S. Northeast and Midwest and bolster its position as a strategic transshipment hub for all types of cargo to and from the Mediterranean,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority.

Transshipment ports in the Mediterranean continue to open up new overseas markets to the Port of Montreal. In fact, Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East accounted for 50 percent of the port’s international container market in 2016, up from 40 percent in 2012.

“This service will support growing demand for freight transport between Montreal and the Mediterranean and offer importers and exporters additional access to emerging markets in Asia and other countries served by transshipment ports in the Med,” Ms. Vachon said.

Maersk also operates the Canada Atlantic Service that calls at Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam and Halifax.

Hapag-Lloyd marks 125 years in Canada

German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd is marking in 2017 its 125 years of operating in Canada.

The carrier’s first ship to call the Canadian market – the S/S Cremon, a steamboat slightly more than 90 metres long with a capacity of 2,132 gross registered tons – set sail from Europe and arrived in Montreal in March 1892. By then, Canada had become a very attractive trading partner for Europe, and Hapag-Lloyd decided that it made economic sense to establish a regular liner service to Montreal. It has never looked back!

Hapag-Lloyd operates three weekly services from the Port of Montreal.

“In 125 years, Hapag-Lloyd has shown its commitment to the Port of Montreal more than once, in particular by developing dedicated services between Europe, the Mediterranean and Montreal, and also by choosing Montreal as the headquarters of its operations in Canada as a whole,” Ms. Vachon said. “We congratulate all Hapag-Lloyd employees who, every day, perpetuate the rigour and quality of service that is the hallmark of this great marine carrier.”

Hapag-Lloyd is also active in the cruise sector. A subsidiary of TUI, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ luxury ships MS Europa and MS Europa 2 sail to Montreal during the cruise season.