THE CMA CGM flagship, the 18,000-TEU Benjamin Franklin, is to stop operating between Asia and the US west coast as the shipping industry faces one of its worst ever slumps, reports London's Financial Times.
The Benjamin Franklin was never able to operate at full capacity when calling in at the US. When it docked at Los Angeles in December, it took 56 hours, nine cranes and 11,200 container moves to handle the cargo.
The Marseilles-based CMA CGM's decision comes amid a global container shipping slump caused by a sharp slowdown in world trade growth and the arrival of a glut of new big ships that has sent rates down sharply.
Denmark's AP Moller-Maersk, operator of the world's biggest containership fleet, warned in February that a combination of a slumping oil price and low container rates had made market conditions "significantly worse" than during the 2008-09 financial crisis.
Marseille-based owners, CMA CGM, said it would suspend voyages by their Benjamin Franklin on the route between Asia and ports including Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle.
CMA CGM said the redeployment was part of a reorganisation following its April announcement of a new tie-up - the Ocean Alliance - with three smaller Asian lines.
CMA CGM is in the process of acquiring Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines for US$2.4 billion to match its two bigger rivals - Maersk and the Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) - in scale. The NOL deal will make CMA CGM market leader on the transpacific, where the NOLs' container unit, APL, is traditionally strong.
Source : HKSG.