Due to growing demand, Incheon is added to the Far East-Middle East service

Rising demand for container exports to the Middle East has prompted the Port of Incheon to launch direct container service to the Persian Gulf for the first time in five years.

SeaLead Shipping is expanding its Far East-Middle East service to include calls at the South Korean gateway.

A spokesman said: “We will cover Incheon as an additional destination and use our FAM service every two weeks to meet customer demand for exports from South Korea to the Middle East.”

The FAM is served by eight 4,000 to 5,600 TEU vessels calling at Incheon, Busan, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nansha and Jebel Ali. The first call in Incheon is expected on Wednesday with 5,600 TEU Suez Canal.

South Korean freight forwarder Always Blue Sea & Air, SeaLead’s distribution agency, expects the expanded FAM will boost trade between South Korea and the Middle East by shipping more cargo to the Red Sea, East Africa, North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and be transported to southern Europe.

CEO Nam Keuk-young added, “Shippers and freight forwarders in the Seoul metropolitan area will have more choice, faster and more convenient connections to the Middle East.”

Incheon’s last container shipping service to the Persian Gulf, Iranian shipping company IRISL’s Touska service in June 2016, was suspended in 2018 after US sanctions were reimposed on Iran.

The Incheon Port Authority said it hopes to increase throughput by 50,000 teu a year with the expanded FAM, the fourth service the port introduced this year. There are currently 70 scheduled services in regular service.

This month it was time reported that freight rates from China to the Persian Gulf were cheaper than those on long-haul routes due to the weakened western economy. As production in the Middle East grows, liner shipping companies have started their services to the region.

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