MAG Container Lines, a division of Dubai-based MAG Group, has invested $6m on three new, automated IAX-class vessels.

The company will deploy the three vessels, Al Hussein, MAG Bride and MAG Pearl, to increase the capacity of their UAE-Iraq route by 60%.

MAG Container Lines CEO, managing director and partner Hagop Gharnagharian said that the demand for additional capacity on the UAE-Iraq and Gulf routes has almost doubled in the last eight years. The decision to invest in new vessels is part of a long-term strategy to improve operations and to serve the upcoming routes to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Each of the IAX-class vessels has a cargo capacity of 301 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

The addition of new container vessels will take MAG’s total cargo capacity to 4,000TEUs.

Gharnagharian said this will allow them to provide a fully-committed schedule of 18 voyages per month, give the flexibility to manage client expectations and reduce their dependence on chartered vessels during peak demand periods.

"Looking ahead, we plan to double our fleet in the next five years and take our total capacity to 12,000TEUs," Gharnagharian said. "We have identified several new areas of opportunity for MAG Container Lines with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka targeted as key markets for maritime trade sector growth in the next few years,"

The company generated revenues of AED125.43m ($34.1m) in 2012 and expects an increase to AED132.65m ($36.1m) in 2013.