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NEWS UPDATES 27 August 2009

Singapore’s shipping firm opens new route to Brunei

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Mariana Express, a Singapore-based shipping company opened a route to Brunei Wednesday, which, said Brunei Times, would create business opportunities for local freight forwarders and transportation companies through improved shipping connectivity at Brunei’s Muara Port.

Mariana Express Lines (MELL) will be using their fleets, MV Mell Saraca and MV Mell Saujana, to dock at Muara Container Terminal every alternate Wednesday, providing a fixed schedule where exporters or importers can expect their goods.

Both ships have a container capacity of 1,100 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) with 220 reefer plugs and a service speed of 19 knots, providing faster transit time to Brunei.

The new service complements some parts of the BIMP-EAGA ports and is expected to provide extensive port coverage with direct calls from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, to Kuching via Hong Kong and vice versa.

The route taken by the two ships that will dock in Brunei will go on rotation from Hong Kong, Kuching, Bintulu, Muara, Kota Kinabalu, Cayangan de Oro, Cebu and back to Hong Kong in a span of 14 days.

Anson Chen, owner's representative for Mariana Express Lines, said that the service would provide the link for Brunei to various countries for trade. He also hoped that with the deployment of the new service, the volume of cargo would increase to at least 100 containers in the next three months.

"Right now, we're transporting 15 containers, but I'm confident with consumer prospects that the volume would increase step by step," he said. Commenting on the facilities of the port, he added that it was on par with other major ports in the region and believes that its facilities can meet market demand.

Acting Ports Director Ang Kian Guan said that the new service would particularly benefit the private sector as it would make it easier for them to do business since their goods can be expected on a set date.

"Previously, ships coming in to supply goods didn't have a fixed schedule so it was difficult for traders to plan beforehand, with the new service, we now have a scheduled ship that comes every Wednesday," he said, adding that such an initiative was part of their vision to become a gateway to BIMP-EAGA.

Currently, Mariana Express Lines operates 10 container ships capable of carrying between 700 to 1,100 TEUs containers.






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