Maersk Asia/Europe loop on long-term Suez bypass
It appears that a temporary plan by Maersk Line to route the biggest containerships in its fleet around the tip of Africa on the eastbound leg of one of its Asia/Europe services is moving towards permanent.
The Danish liner carrier has continued to sail its Emma Maersk-class vessels deployed on the line’s AE7 service around the Cape of Good Hope, according to research from American Shipper sister company ComPairData.
The service now has a 70-day round-trip voyage, sailing direct from Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Zeebrugge and Algeciras via the Cape of Good Hope non-stop to Yantian, said Francis Phillips of ComPairData.
“The Zeebrugge-Yantian transit is a fairly leisurely 33 days, 29 from Algeciras,” Phillips said, noting that Maersk initially hinted the round-the-cape route would be on “quiet season trial-only basis.”
The rest of the rotation on the service in Asia is Yantian, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Hong Kong and Yantian, then back via Suez in 17 days non-stop to Algeciras, and on to Rotterdam. The service uses 10 ships with a nominal capacity of up to 14,800 TEUs, though Maersk has said that the Emma Maersk-class vessels have an operating capacity, based on high-weight boxes, which is closer to 11,000 TEUs.