Maersk Line is ramping up its feeder operations at Kakinada Port, an emerging alternative cargo gateway on India’s east coast, as part of what the Danish carrier described as "moving closer to shippers and seeking new growth areas."

Maersk said it is adding a feeder link from the minor, or privately operated, Kakinada to Colombo, Sri Lanka, in order to meet growing transshipment demand. The new service will begin with the SSL Vishakhapatnam, voyage 010, arriving at Kakinada on Oct. 29.

The new service comes on the heels of Maersk connecting Kakinada via its Mesawa Service between India and Africa. The Kerstin, the most recent vessel to call Kakinada on the Mesawa service, lifted 800 twenty-foot-equivalent units last month, the highest for any ship on the service to this point in time.

Kakinada Port offers an alternative to the often congested Chennai to the south.

“The landmark effort was acknowledged by port authorities and they expressed confidence that similar handling would happen again at the port in the future,” Maersk said.

Maersk’s latest move adds to a growing trend of mainline container lines frustrated with delays at major public ports shifting operations to private terminals. Krishnapatnam and Kattupalli have been major beneficiaries of such diversions.

Another factor driving ocean carrier interest in new port locations is an expected manufacturing boom from the union government’s ongoing Sagar Mala and other reform measures.

Kakinada Container Terminal is a joint venture between Singapore’s PSA International and two local groups: Kakinada Infrastructure Holdings and Bothra Shipping Services. The Kakinada port complex, which is located between the ports of Visakhapatnam and Chennai, is under the control of Andhra Pradesh State Authority.

Kakinada includes a quay length of nearly 1,000 feet and is capable of handling about 200,000 TEUs per year.

Port statistics compiled by show Kakinada handled 164,000 TEUs in fiscal year 2015 to 2016 through March.