MSC’s new Dragon service returns to BEST terminal
At the beginning of 2023, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) took the decision to reintroduce the Dragon service connecting the Asian continent with the Mediterranean Sea. The service was discontinued in March 2020 due to changes in demand resulting from the first phase of Covid-19. Previously, the service was offered in a different format and within the framework of the 2M alliance between MSC and MAERSK (whose specific name for the Dragon service was AE20). The renewal of this service will be operated solely by MSC.
The Dragon service now returns with a new weekly rotation, as follows: Shanghai – Ningbo – Yantian – Singapore – Ashdod – Naples – La Spezia – Genoa – Fos sur Mer – Barcelona – King Abdullah – Singapore – Shanghai. As the most notable changes, on the rotation to Europe (Westbound) the ports of Xiamen, King Abdullah, Beirut and Valencia have been eliminated, adding Ashdod and Naples, while on the journey to Asia (Eastbound), which starts from Barcelona, only two stopovers have been eliminated (Caliphate and Jebel Ali).
The reduction of calls back to Asia from Barcelona has generated a significant reduction in transit time and has made the Dragon one of the most competitive maritime services for exporting containers from Barcelona to Shanghai due to its high connection speed.
The second vessel of the service to call at the BEST terminal, which has completed the new route, was the MSC VEGA (photo attached), which visited Barcelona on 5 May. This vessel has a capacity of 13,100 TEU.
With the arrival of this service, the BEST terminal incorporates its fourth direct connection to the Far East and significantly improves the maritime offer available to terminal users. Combined with the extensive network of inland destinations to which the terminal is connected, especially through its railway platform, the most important in the country, the BEST terminal can be considered one of the most important intermodal logistics hubs in Southern Europe.