Thursday, February 5, 2015

Super Sized Alliance Vessels Set New Container Freight Shipping Schedules into UK

Southampton the Port of Choice for Revamped Services
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The Ocean Three shipping alliance which we gave details of when it was first announced back in September 2014, will make its first UK service call on Monday 9 February arriving at the DP World facility in Southampton (DPWS). This will be followed shortly by a new service operated by 2M, the alliance of the world’s two largest shipping lines, Maersk and MSC on Tuesday 17 February. DPWS opened its new deep water berth, capable of handling the largest ships afloat and under construction, in March 2014. This was followed by a multimillion pound dredging program undertaken by Associated British Ports, the port authority. Both developments were required to ensure that these ocean giants can access the terminal all year round.

The 16,020 TEU CMA-CGM Marco Polo, currently the largest vessel to call regularly at Southampton, arrives this time officially as part of the new Ocean Three shipping alliance on Monday. The Ocean Three partners are CMA CGM, a longstanding customer at Southampton; United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), which has called at Southampton on previous occasions; and China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL), which already charters slots on Southampton services. The Ocean Three alliance will have two services at Southampton, replacing two existing CMA CGM services, still to be called the FAL1 and the FAL3.

The 2M alliance will have their maiden call on Tuesday 17 February with the 9,600 TEU Susan Maersk. The alliance has added DP World Southampton as a new port of call to give customers more choice and in response to cargo owners that DP World says have expressed a preference to use the Southampton container terminal. The new service will be called ‘Condor’ by MSC and ‘AE9’ by Maersk Line. It will initially deploy vessels of between 9,500 and 12,500 TEU. For Maersk Line it will mean a return to Southampton as a vessel provider, after an absence of nearly 5 years. For MSC it is a continuation of the service that has historically been offered on CMA CGM’s FAL1 and FAL3 services.

Additionally China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), which has been traditionally a customer of the Port of Felixstowe, will be taking slots on the CMA CGM services into Southampton. Commenting on the new alliances, Chris Lewis, Managing Director, DP World Southampton, said:

“Everything is being super-sized. The emergence of these big shipping alliances now brings bigger ships with even bigger discharges which still need fast, flexible and reliable services. DP World Southampton has continued to keep pace with the changing shape of the shipping industry. We’ve got the infrastructure, a new berth and deep-water access, as well as a proven track record for fast and reliable productivity.”

Photo: Marco Polo quayside.