Maersk Line Heads to Sanctions-Free Cuba

Image Courtesy: Maersk Line

World’s largest container carrier Maersk Line is starting its first direct service from Ireland to Cuba following the removal of economic sanctions on the country.

The first port call in Mariel, Cuba took place already on 22nd April and the stop is part of the “CRX – Southbound” service operated by Maersk Line, which connects Cork in Ireland with other Latin American destinations.

“The addition of these services adds capacity and choice to the Irish market and represents a strong endorsement by the world’s largest container line of the potential that exists for further growth in the trade to and from Ireland,” said Liam Lacey, Director of the Irish Maritime Development Office.

According to IMDO, new Port of Cork- Cuba route will have the fastest transit times in the market, offering a weekly feeder service that connects Havana to Santiago de Cuba.

“Maersk is confident that the new service will support the development of the Special Economic Zone of Mariel, which is set to be the main engine of growth for the country. Maersk is one of the first movers following the removal of economic sanctions and aims to be an active participant in the zone’s development,” the company said in a comment.

In the past few years, the containerised market in Cuba has been growing at a pace of 10-15% per annum. Drivers have been infrastructure investments and modernisation projects, such as the terminal of Mariel, the creation of the Special Economic Zone of Mariel and the refurbishing of the old Havana Port for Cruises.

In addition, Cuba has undergone a series of structural economic changes that have had a positive impact on its development by allowing 100% private investments in certain industries and not least the normalisation of the diplomatic relationship with the US.

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