Friday, February 22, 2013

Return to the Posh Life for Container Shipping Line

French Giant Opens Largest Box Vessel to the Ordinary Traveller
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – WORLDWIDE – It’s a return to the posh* society this month as French shipping line CMA CGM, the world’s third largest box carrier is reinstating personal travel that harks back to the days of the Raj, or more properly perhaps the French Empire. The company has announced that passenger cabins are now available on board the CMA CGM Marco Polo, currently the world’s largest containership with a capacity of 16,020 TEU’s.

In past decades taking quarters aboard a cargo ship was a common practice and, even today, there are specialist companies which book such services but taking one of just five cabins and sharing the life of the crew aboard a vessel that stretches to around the length of a 400 metre track must certainly be classed as unique.

In fact the idea of taking passage aboard one of CMA CGM’s ships is not a new one and the idea has been around with them since the turn of this century allowing travellers the opportunity to board the Group’s owned-cargos on the different major global shipping routes (North Europe-Asia / USA-Asia / Round the world via the Panama Canal / the West Indian road / Europe-India).

Each of the Marco Polo’s double cabins measures out at twenty square metres and has access to a lounge with TV equipment, a library, a fitness room and even a swimming pool with the giant ship currently following the Asia to Europe rotation taking in Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Yantian, Port Kelang, Tanger, Southampton, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Malta, Khor Al Fakkan and Jebel Ali before returning to Ningbo.

More relevant to most readers the company is increasing container rates from the 3rd March on some routes and the 15th March on others.

* For the younger readers the expression ‘posh’ is said to refer to the cabin position for travelers from Europe who favoured ‘Port Out – Starboard Home’ thus avoiding constant direct sunlight in the warmer climes – or then again, maybe not.