Big ships in Europe/South America trade
As carriers remove excess capacity from weak Asia/Europe and transpacific routes, some carriers are ramping up capacity and vessel size on north-south routes, according to American Shipper’s ComPair Data affiliate.
Francis Phillips, an analyst for ComPair, points to recent developments in the Europe/East Coast South America (ECSA) trade where Mediterranean Shipping Co. has sharply increased its capacity, matching Hamburg Sud and Maersk, and in the transpacific where Maersk is poised to bring very large ships into service between North Asia and Mexico and Central America.
In Europe/East Coast South America, MSC has introduced an additional loop with ships averaging 5,500 TEUs in capacity, as big as Hamburg Sud’s biggest, plus another loop with 2,800-TEU ships.
Previously MSC operated a single 4,500-TEU loop returning to North Europe via Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.
Six 5,500-TEU ships are used on MSC’s Europe-ECSA1 route which offers weekly calls. Rotation is Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Suape, Santos, Buenos Aires, Rio Grande, Santos, Itaqui and Antwerp.
Five 2,800-TEU ships are deployed on its Europe-ECSA2 route, which also offers weekly calls. Rotation is Anwerp, Bremerhaven, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Navegantes, Santos, Las Palmas, Bremerhaven and Antwerp.
MSC’s partners in the service have been CSAV, Libra, Senator, “K”
Line, Evergreen, Maruba, and China Shipping Container Line.
CMA CGM said it will also start a new service linking the East Coast of South America to Northern Europe at the end of November.
The new SAFRAN service will deploy six vessels of 2,800 TEUs each, five from CMA CGM and one from Argentinian carrier Maruba Lines, with a large number of reefer plugs to meet the increasing demand for refrigerated transport from Brazil and Argentina to Europe.
Senator is leaving an MSC and a CSAV loop on which it has slots at present to join the CMA CGM-Maruba service.
In another sign of the growing size of vessels on north/south routes, Maersk Line is replacing 7,200-TEU ships on its Far-East- Mexico-Central America AC-2 service with 8,400-TEU ships, while trimming its Far East-Mexico-Centram AC-1 service.
Maersk said six of the nine large S-type ships being withdrawn from the AE8 Asia-Europe loop will cascade into the Asia/Mexico- Panama weekly AC2 loop linking Yantian, Hong Kong and Gwangyang with Lazaro Cardenas and Balboa, and that the AC1 loop is being withdrawn temporarily during the slack season beginning at the end of December.