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Ocean carrier Mediterranean Shipping Co. will debut its freighter service in early December, sooner than previously indicated.

A new air cargo schedule posted on the company’s website shows MSC Air Cargo will begin weekly around-the-world service with a Boeing 777 freighter in early December. When the company announced in September it would establish a cargo airline to support customers with end-to-end logistics capabilities, it said commercial service would begin in early 2023.

MSC will lease four 777-200s from Atlas Air (NASDAQ: AAWW), which will also operate the aircraft under a long-term contract. Atlas Air ordered four 777-200s from Boeing (NYSE: BA) in January, and the MSC schedule said one of those planes has now been delivered. The remaining aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2023.

The plane is undergoing flight tests at Paine Field Airport in Washington, according to plane spotter Jen Schuld on Twitter and flight-tracking site Flightradar24.

The MSC cargo jet will operate from Mexico City to Indianapolis and then to Frankfurt, Germany, twice a week, and one time per week will continue from Germany to Hong Kong and back to Mexico City via Anchorage, Alaska.

Jannie Davel, a former Emirates SkyCargo and DHL executive who most recently served as managing director-commercial at Delta Air Lines’ (NYSE: DAL) cargo division, is running the air cargo business for MSC.

MSC is the latest ocean carrier to move into the air cargo arena, joining Maersk, CMA CGM and some Asian carriers with long involvement in air cargo. The recent entrants are using enormous profits from their ocean businesses to expand into serving other parts of the supply chain.

Air Cargo World was first to report on MSC’s updated plans.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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