Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Container Shipping Lines Merge Cargo Services and Replace Vessels with Larger Ships

Dry and Reefer Box Carriers Amalgamate Two Routes
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – SOUTH AFRICA – The Southern Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) which carries dry and reefer cargo between the two continents, and which last month became the first of the box carrying operations to sign up to the new London Gateway port on the River Thames, has announced that it is to merge with the MedShuttle/225 service operated by Maersk and its group subsidiary Safmarine. The enhanced joint service will operate with larger sized vessels and the weekly named day frequency will continue to be maintained by eight vessels with the transit times between North Europe and South Africa largely unchanged.

Maersk and Safmarine operate the SAECS with partners Deutsche Afrika Linien (DAL) and Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) and in northern Europe and South Africa the port rotations will remain unchanged but will be supplemented by calls at Algeciras on both the southbound and northbound voyages improving transit times between the Mediterranean and South Africa, with the replacement of the current SAECS fleet of vessels commencing in January 2014 and with expected completion by the end of March 2014.

As part of the programme changes the Med Shuttle/225 Service operated by Maersk/Safmarine between Algeciras and South Africa, on which MOL and DAL participate as slot charterers, will be terminated during the 4th Quarter 2013. Algeciras calls will be added to SAECS core service when MedShuttle/225 is suspended, continuing to provide weekly service to/from the Mediterranean.

The partners say this is a service enhancement programme which reaffirms, in continuation of the long tradition of the SAECS service on the trade between Europe and South Africa, that the member lines are committed to continue to provide and maintain a first class reliable service which is structured and operated to best meet the requirements of the trade overall.