Subic Bay Freeport - Maersk Line, listed among the largest container shipping companies in the world, brought to this premier Philippine free port the first good news for 2015, as it marked its maiden direct voyage from Singapore to Subic.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said Maersk's MV Stadt Dresden arrived in the Port of Subic directly from Singapore at around 12:30 in the morning of January 3.

"This starts Maersk's weekly service for a direct Singapore-Subic route," Garcia said.

The SBMA official added that the entry of Maersk Line ushered in the new year here with good luck and good news.

Maersk Line, the largest operating unit of the Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, is considered the biggest container shipping company in the world in terms of revenue and operates more than 600 vessels with a total container capacity of 3.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

MV Stadt Dresden, which started the direct Singapore-Subic route, is a registered Antigua Barbuda-flag carrier with a gross tonnage of 27,971.

According to Jerome Martinez, manager of the SBMA Seaport Department, the Stadt Dresden unloaded 12 cargo containers here. Of these, 11 were consigned to Keppel Subic while the other one was for Petron in Mandaluyong City.

Martinez further said that several international shipping lines have opened direct routes to Subic starting in November last year when China-based SITC Container Lines (Phils.), Inc. began a direct route from Xiamen, China to Subic.

SITC's container ship MV Sicilia unloaded 22 containers at Subic's New Container Terminal (NCT) 2 during its maiden voyage here.

This was followed by Japan-based Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, another one of the largest shipping companies in the world, which made its first direct route to the Port of Subic from Kaohsiung, Taipei.

NYK's MV Jakarta Towers, meanwhile, also docked at NCT-2 in Subic and unloaded 110 containers destined to various consignees in Central and Southern Luzon, as well as Metro Manila.

SBMA officials also noted that the entry to Subic of new shipping lines with direct routes from foreign ports started after President Aquino issued Executive Order 172, which classified Subic's NCT-2 and the Port of Batangas as extension ports to help ease congestion in the Port of Manila. (30)