CSCL Port of Hamburg

Uwe Claassen, head of the Port of Hamburg's Nautical Centre (centre), alongside Port of Hamburg Marketing's Bengt van Beuningen (left) welcomes the captain of the CSCL Long Beach, R Nayyar (right)

Shanghai-based liner company China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) has teamed up with French operator CMA CGM to begin operating a new service connecting northern Europe with China and Malaysia.

Container traffic between Asia and the Port of Hamburg reached a total of 5.6m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year, according to the port authorities.

China remains by far the port's largest individual trading partner, shipping a total of 3.2m TEUs in 2007. In the first six months of this year, container traffic between China and Hamburg reportedly rose by 4.8 percent.

The start of the new service was heralded on Tuesday with the arrival of the CSCL Long Beach vessel alongside the HHLA Container Terminal at the Port of Hamburg in Germany.

The new rotation offers a 28-day connection from the Port of Shanghai and a 19-day connection from the Port of Kelang in Malaysia to the Port of Zeebrugge in Belgium and then to Hamburg, before returning to Shanghai via the Port of Rotterdam.

CSCL and CMA CGM will each operate four vessels on the route as part of the service.

The full port rota is as follows: Shanghai, Xiamen, Yantian (Shenzhen), Nansha (Guangzhou), Kelang, Zeebrugge, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Shanghai.