Norwegian ro-ro carrier Höegh Autoliners is establishing a new route between the Middle East, India and Africa following trial shipments which began in 2008. The inaugural sailing of the new regular service will take place in the first week of July, supporting both rolling and static cargo, including vehicles made in India for export to global markets.
Höegh’s focus on Indian exports began with a spot shipment of 2,450 Hyundai units made in August 2008 in support of the Korean carmaker’s current carrier Eukor. That shipment also included 40 Ashok Leyland buses for the Middle East.
Following that, it launched a trial service for Indian manufacturers to West Africa, in addition to its regular Persian Gulf service from Mumbai. The company has secured several agreements with companies including Tata, Ashok Leyland and JCB.
Monthly sailings in the new regular service will initially call Jebel Ali, Mumbai, Chennai, Colombo, Durban/ Maputo, Luanda, Lagos and Tema. A connecting service to Australia, the Indian Ocean and US is available via Maputo/Durban.
Höegh has a long history in India, with its first vessel – Silverlight – calling at Calcutta in March 1937. The company operated a liner breakbulk service as part of Höegh Lines up until 2000 when the operation was sold and terminated. Last year’s ro-ro activity marked a re-entry to the Indian market which sought to take advantage of the rapid growth in automotive exports there.
Höegh’s main customers are carmakers, heavy machinery and rolling stock manufacturers, as well as movers of second hand vehicles. It currently operates around 70 PCTCs.