MSC "Golden Gate" first call on Haifa Port

Port2port News Service 
Nov 12, 2012
Close to 1600 containers were unloaded and loaded during this first visit in a rate of 191 containers per ship hour. MSC's CEO in Israel: "The GGS is an evidence of a
strong belief in Israel's economy and the ability of Haifa Port to become a transshipment hub".
With the arrival of the MSC MAEVA, the largest container ship to have ever call on Haifa Port, a new era has opened for the port and the Israeli shipping.  
Port's spokesman mentioned that some of the containers are destined for trans-shipment to Alexandria. "Next week, an even larger ship with many more containers will dock at Haifa", promised the CEO of MSC Israel, Mr. Edani Simkin.
There were many concerns the day before the arrival of the MSC MAEVA (TEU 8040) at Haifa Port. The weather forecast was for a severe storm in the area and so a special effort was made to successfully bring the vessel several hours before schedule thanks to a quick passage through the Suez Canal

Although the deepening of the port's entry canal was only completed last week and vessels with a draught of 14.5 meters had yet to use the canal.  Haifa Port and the new Carmel Terminal were ready and prepared for the vessel and six new Ship to Shore Cranes (SPP) were waiting in the early hours of Friday morning (the 9th of November). Then, in just a few hours, 1600 containers were loaded and unloaded from the vessel at a rate of 191 containers per hour. Senior global MSC executives, who came especially for the event, including Caroline Becquart, MSC's Far East trade director, were very surprised by the speed of work.  
Just a few hours later, at 15:30 in the afternoon, the MSC MAEVA had already begun its 11 day voyage to New York.  
Port's spokesman mentioned that there can be no doubt that the opening of a major shipping line such as the GOLDEN GATE SERVICE to Israel, run by the huge MSC Shipping company, has made Haifa Port an important port on the map of world maritime shipping.  
MSC Israel successfully met its initial target for the route on its first voyage, with 1200 containers for import or transshipment (to Alexandria) and some 400 containers for export.
The port of Haifa will face higher targets, when on this coming Friday, a new record will be set with the arrival of the MSC ARICA (TEU 8900) which will be largest ever to have visited Israel.  The vessel will be carrying more containers for loading, unloading and transshipment to Adriatic Sea ports. And then, in just another two weeks visits will begin from the West with imports from the United States and exports to the Far East as well as vessels with a 9200 TEU capacity.  
The fact that the GGS route in its new configuration with double visits to Haifa, both from the West and then back from the Far East (Thursdays to the Far East and Fridays to the West) gives MSC great hopes for the route.
"The GGS is a worldwide route and its arrival in Israel is evidence of a strong belief in Israel's economy and the ability of Haifa Port to become a transshipment hub", said CEO of MSC Israel, Mr. Edani Simkin on Friday.  "This is a strategic choice which will push the port's activities forward to impressive new heights which will also benefit Israel's economy. The route connects Haifa port, through the use of feeder vessels, to other Mediterranean ports, including those of Egypt and Turkey, and the Adriatic and Black Seas.  As a result, the sailing time to the United States that used to be almost 20 days, has been shortened to 11 days. The route opens new markets for Israel's importers and exporters, including agriculture products to US east coast. Over the past three years, we have trebled the amount of cargo to Israel.  Imagine what the future now holds in store".
CEO of Haifa Port, Mendy Zaltzman: "The extraordinary abilities of MSC, which have facilitated the operation of the route, meet and combine with Haifa Port which is both highly professional and constantly seeking to grow. We have been preparing for this revolution over the past few years:  we built a new advanced, deep water terminal and installed the best equipment in the world, alongside the excellent N4 TOS system provided by NAVIS. We have also recently purchased a new tug; the largest in Israel, with a bollard pull of 70 tons. Additionally, the port's employee's total and deep commitment has, once again, proved today what they are capable of achieving.  191 containers per ship hour are just the first example of our capabilities.  We are ready for even more challenges".
Caroline Becquart, MSC's Far East trade director said that over the past two years she had participated in many meetings and discussions with the port's management in preparation for the routes operation. "The employee's professionalism and their rate of work are those that are expected and the norm at the world's largest ports such as Singapore and Shanghai. Well done to them all" said Becquart.
The Golden Gate Service's schedule will include the following ports: Ningbo – Shanghai – Chiwan – Yantian – Singapore – Haifa – New York – Norfolk – Baltimore – Savannah – Charleston – Freeport – Norfolk – Haifa – Colombo – Singapore – Chiwan – Hong Kong – Ningbo.