Starting end of April, Hapag-Lloyd will operate their own independent service from Northern Europe via Suez direct to Australia/New Zealand that it used to provide with a partner. “We will be introducing two additional units and continuing to operate the service with twelve ships. With this direct service, we offer the best transit times on this route,” states Anthony Firmin, Managing Director Ship and Container Management of Hapag-Lloyd AG. Vessels with a capacity of 2,500 TEU, including 300 reefer plugs, are deployed for the weekly service provided on fixed weekdays. The transit time from Rotterdam to Melbourne is only 28 days. The following port sequence is planned: Tilbury, Hamburg, Rotterdam, La Spezia, Damietta, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, Napier, Port Chalmers, Melbourne, Adelaide, Singapore, Colombo, Damietta, La Spezia and Tilbury again. Hapag-Lloyd is one of the leading carriers in this trade and offers customers a comprehensive liner network connecting Australia/New Zealand with all major world ports with links to the US West Coast and East Coast, Asia and Europe, including the established service via Panama, which will be continued unchanged. In 2006, container volume in services with Australia/New Zealand came to 3.9m TEU, including exports from the region of 1.9m TEU. Volume is expected to rise to 4.9m TEU by 2012, according to a forecast by Global Insight.