NINE years of losses over the past decade has prompted the world's largest container line to close two services plying the transpacific trade.
Maersk's TP5 service, connecting China's Bo Hai Bay area and some of Japan's major ports with Dutch Harbour, Oakland and Los Angeles will end on January 15.
The carrier plans to launch a revised TP5 product on January 16, "for the Japan market, with reduced capacity covering Busan, Yokohama, Los Angeles, and Oakland".
The Danish shipping line will also scrap its Taiwan Express service that calls at Kaohsiung, Taipei, Oakland and Los Angeles from January 1, claiming that the economics of having such a high density of services into the US southwest coast no longer makes sense, reports London's Loadstar.
The announcement made in a customer advisory came just one day before the carrier's new east-west 2M partnership with Mediterranean Shipping Co went into effect.
"Over the last decade the operating environment on the transpacific has been challenging, with the overall trade delivering unprofitable results for nine of the last 10 years, leading some to question the long-term health of the trade," said the Maersk advisory.
"As a result, we have taken a detailed look at the economics of the trade with a focus on ensuring we secure our position" Maersk said.
"This by no means suggests our commitment to the transpacific trade has wavered. In fact, we see it very much the opposite," said Maersk. "As we look forward to the future we want to continue playing a critical role in the supply chains of our customers on the trade.
"However, the long-standing downward pressure on profitability in the transpacific represents a serious risk to service levels. We will not take, the lead but rely on the Transpacific Stabilisation Agreement to address the profitability challenge to the benefit of all stakeholders," it said.
It would appear that Maersk will cease offering a direct connection between Taiwan and the US west coast, as none of the published 2M transpacific loops include calls at Taiwanese ports, particularly its main hub of Kaohsiung.
This is perhaps in part a reflection of the shift in Asia manufacturing as the emerging Vietnamese export gateway of Vung Tau won a direct call.
In addition, while the Malaysian transshipment hub of Tanjung Pelepas will become the starting point for 2M's eastbound transpacific services, Singapore will act as the southeast Asian hub for the two Asia-US east coast services that will be routed through Suez, both of which call at Kaohsiung.
Separately, the line also announced the launch of two new services: one connecting the Middle East, Indian west coast, South Africa and West Africa; and a second between its relay hub of Salalah and Indian Ocean islands.
The weekly MESAWA service will launch on January 24, deploy ten 3,500 TEU ships and include calls at Jebel Ali, Mundra, Jawarharlal Nehru, Durban, Luanda, Apapa, Tincan, Cotonou, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Port Louis.
Starting January 28, the Indian Ocean service will also have a weekly frequency and deploy three 2,000 TEU vessels and include calls at Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles.
Source : SN – TR.