2M MEMBERS Maersk and MSC have made a strategic move in their Far East-US east coast loops, dropping the Suez priority and returning the headhaul to Panama in a new 'round-the-world service.
From early September, Maersk and MSC will re-route one of their joint Asia to US east coast loops from Suez to Panama under the 2M accord in a revamp of their Asia-USEC all-water services, reports Alphaliner.
The TP-12/Empire service, now part of a pendulum that also includes a Far East-WCNA TP-8/New Orient string operated with 17 ships in the 8,400 to 9,500-TEU range, will become a 'round the-world service using the Panama route on the headhaul instead of Suez.
The new TP-12/Empire will be run in 11 weeks with 11 ships of 8,500 TEU, calling at Hong Kong, Shenzhen-Chiwan, Shenzhen-Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, (Panama), New York-NJ, Norfolk, Baltimore, New York-NJ, (Suez), Salalah, Colombo, Singapore and back to Hong Kong.
The additional call at Busan allows it to offer a direct connection between Korea and the ports of New York, Norfolk and Baltimore, notes Alphaliner, the Paris-based container research house.
Transit times from Ningbo and Shanghai to the USEC arealso improved as a result. The westbound backhaul call at Tanjung Pelepas is removed and replaced by Singapore.
The TP-8/New Orient is to be combined with the TP-11/America within a new pendulum running in 17 weeks with 17 ships of 8,500 TEU. A direct link from Xiamen and Kaohsiung to USEC ports is added, in place of Ningbo, while Norfolk will also be added to the USEC range.
The new pendulum service will call at Shanghai, Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Shenzhen-Chiwan, Shenzhen-Yantian, Cai Mep, Singapore, Salalah, (Suez), New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Charleston, Miami, Freeport (Bahamas), (Suez), Singapore, Qingdao, Shanghai, Busan, Prince Rupert, Long Beach and back to Shanghai.
An eastbound call at Ningbo and a new westbound call at Busan will also be added to the trans-Panama TP-10/Amberjack loop, while the New York call is removed.
The revised service will then cover Qingdao, Xingang, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, (Panama), Savannah, Charleston, Jacksonville, (Panama), Busan and back Qingdao.
The rotation of the TP-18/Lone Star Express trans-Panama service, covering Houston, Mobile and Miami, will remain largely unchanged, with only the addition of a westbound call at Freeport in Bahamas.
This service calls at Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen-Yantian, Busan, (Panama), Cristobal (MSC only), Houston, Mobile, Miami, Freeport (Bahamas), (Pan), Balboa, Busan and back to Qingdao.
These two latter services are so far run with classic panamaxes of 4,200-5,100 TEUers, but some of them could be replaced by larger ships due to the Panama Canal expansion. A first unit of larger dimension (of 5,992 TEU) was introduced on the TP-18 in late June.
Source : HKSG.