Maersk and MSC add a second service between Asia and U.S. Gulf ports, and ZIM will take space on both.
The 2M space-sharing alliance of container carriers Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company will add a second service between Asia and U.S. ports along the Gulf of Mexico.
ZIM, which has entered into several cooperative agreements with the 2M in the past year, will take space on both services.
Maersk said volumes at Gulf ports have been growing rapidly. It also said “the decision has been made to keep serving our customers’ needs and supply chain demands at a time when the Panama Canal draft restrictions reduce the capacity on the existing loops.”
Maersk is calling the new service the TP88, MSC is calling it the Pelican service and ZIM will call it the ZIM U.S. Gulf South China Xpress (ZGX). It will use 10 4,500-TEU vessels with the following rotation: Xiamen, Yantian, Busan (Panama Canal transit), Houston, Mobile, Tampa, Manzanillo, (Panama Canal transit), Balboa, Busan. The first sailing from Xiamen will be on Aug. 16.
MSC noted the second string means South China and North China will be served by separate 2M services to the U.S. Gulf. The new Pelican/TP88/ZGX “will offer a faster transit from South China and Korea into Houston and Mobile. The service will furthermore provide a direct service into Tampa,” it explained.
The 2M’s existing service to the Gulf, called the TP 18 by Maersk and the Lone Star Express by MSC, will be joined by ZIM with the Aug. 18 sailing from Ningbo. ZIM will call the string the ZIM U.S. Gulf Central China Xpress (ZGC). It operates 10 ships with approximate capacity of 6,500 TEUs. They will operate in the following rotation: Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan (Panama Canal transit), Houston, Mobile, Miami, Freeport, (Panama Canal transit), Araijan, Busan.
Maersk said, “By adding Miami to the U.S. Gulf network, we will enable our customers’ continued growth to both the U.S. East Coast and U.S. Gulf.”
MSC said, “The Miami call on our Emerald service shall be removed as a result of the added Miami call on the Lone Star Express service.”
The expanded cooperation between ZIM, Maersk and MSC comes days after Hyundai Merchant Marine, which also shares space on some 2M strings, announced that starting next year it will become a member of THE Alliance, with members Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express and Yang Ming. However, HMM does not have space on the Gulf services ZIM is joining.
“The new services, catering for both Central and South China and South Korea, offer significant advantages for customers, including direct connections to major ports in Asia and the U.S. Gulf; best-in-market transit time with reliable dedicated service by reputable carriers; and two weekly cutoffs in Houston and Mobile to better serve growing U.S. exports requirements,” said ZIM.
Eli Glickman, ZIM president and chief executive officer, noted, “This is the third phase of our tightening cooperation with the 2M Alliance, now extending to four major trades. I’m confident in our strategy, which gains momentum while our customers reap the benefits.”
ZIM said it has been cooperating with the 2M in the Asia-U.S. East Coast trade since September and on the Asia-Pacific Northwest and the Asia-Mediterranean trades since March.