New regular Italy Egypt Express service makes a winning start

Launched during the fourth quarter of 2022, Marfret’s new Italy Egypt Express (IEX) regular container service has proved to be popular, with load factors increasing with each sailing of the container ship Sunaid X.  

Departing from the Italian ports of Genoa in the north and Salerno in the south, the new container service calls at Alexandria Old Port in Egypt every nine days. The 700 TEU-capacity container ship Sunaid X, fitted with around a hundred reefer plugs, made its first commercial crossing in November, 2022. It was a timely decision, with freight rates returning to acceptable levels in a context of intensification and a boosting of economic ties between Italy and Egypt over the past two years, with a view to forging a real industrial and trading partnership. Even if the existing service offer between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean is obviously abundant, Marfret stands out, in particular in the temperature-controlled produce sector.

We are the only ones with a dedicated, direct service for containerized perishables. Since the launch of this fast and direct service, the numbers have continued to increase. We are really pleased with the feedback we’re getting form our clients. We have invested heavily, with 200 new reefer containers going to Egypt,” says Marfret managing director Guillaume Vidil.

Egyptian exporters were quick to sign up for the Italy Egypt Express (IEX) service, with their shipments of fruits and vegetables including artichokes, onions, grapes and citrus fruits. The destination is mainly the Italian mainland, with some of the produce being sent onwards to markets in Central Europe via Salerno, which is a major fruit and vegetable distribution centre.

Successful launch at Food Africa 2022 in Cairo

Trade between Italy and Egypt totals $1.8bn, with exports from Italy -Egypt’s main European trading partner- consisting mainly of leather, marble, construction materials and textiles. As a specialist in North-South services, Marfret finds the same markers in Egypt, with the Suez Canal, as it does in Colombia, another major agricultural producer, located close to the Panama Canal and a hub for distribution to the Caribbean zone.

In order to boost the line’s visibility within the market, Marfret has expanded its sales network with help from its Italian agent AEM and Pan Marine, a ship’s agent with offices in the main Egyptian ports. “A large number were set up in both countries to present the service to forwarders and shippers. Egypt is a trade hub for the Middle East, with relatively balanced trade volumes with Europe,” adds Guillaume Vidil.

The new Italy Egypt Express line was presented at Food Africa, the agri-food industry international trade show which took place in Cairo from 5th to 7th December 2022, with, Marfret and Pan Marine’s stand attracting a lot of attention. Traditionally present as an intra-Mediterranean line operator, Marfret new service comes at a time when manufacturers are contemplating relocating their production capacity from China to regional areas, not just for reasons of transit time and cost but also for transport reduction and environmental considerations.

Marfret and Xavier Macaire – a long-term partnership.

Having already sponsored the yachtsman in 2020 on the Solitaire du Figaro, Marfret has decided to renew its partnership with Xavier Macaire in 2022.

The collaboration takes on even more significance this year since, after winning the Drheam Cup last July, Xavier will be taking part in the Route du Rhum, which leaves Saint Malo on 6th November for Guadeloupe, an island we have been serving for more than 40 years. Who knows if he might even pass a Marfret ship in the middle of the Atlantic? One thing is for certain: it will be aboard one of them, the Marfret Niolon, that Xavier Macaire’s Class40 yacht will be travelling back to France after the race.

Beyond the financial and logistical support, the partnership is a moment of fruitful exchanges between the Marfret teams and Xavier Macaire and his crew. This was certainly the case on 7th September last, when our staff were treated to a day sailing with Xavier Macaire on his Class40, one that left them impressed with the yacht’s outstanding performance!

Marfret boosts presence in Belgium

The partnership with Neptumar will consolidate the shipping company’s position in Belgium.

Marfret has been serving Belgium for more than 30 years, both with its trans-Atlantic container services and, more recently, its roro MPV line, which calls at the port of Antwerp.

To consolidate its presence in Belgium, Marfret is reinforcing its partnership with Neptumar, part of the Menzell & Döhle Group, who will be responsible for managing operations and sales for all its port calls in Belgium. “With this extended cooperation with Neptumar, and the Menzell & Döhle group who are also our agent in Germany, we are joining a network to conquer new territory. We will be setting up our sales and operations teams within the Antwerp agency tasked with both supervising port calls and freight forwarding,” says an enthusiastic Guillaume Vidil, Marfret’s managing director, who plans to be in Antwerp at the beginning of October and will attend the AntwerpXL event, taking place from 4-6 October, with the MPV service teams.

Marfret’s latest service, the MPV, now calling at Antwerp

Launched at the height of the health crisis, the MPV service is a direct, multipurpose and regular service providing an easy way to ship consignments such as yachts, buses and aircraft wings without transhipment. The destinations served from Le Havre and Antwerp are Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France and Dégrad-des-Cannes, with a transit time of 42 days. For the past year, Marfret has been able to appreciate the reactiveness, flexibility, reliability and efficiency of the Antwerp’s comprehensive range of logistics services. “We need reliable partners, whether it’s for handling, fuelling or maintenance,”  acknowledges Guillaume Vidil. The combination of good labour relations at Antwerp, the richness of its hinterland and the reactiveness of the port’s stakeholders provide the perfect conditions for developing Marfret’s services in Belgium.