• ITVI.USA
    15,913.180
    -35.240
    -0.2%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.793
    -0.005
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.300
    0.290
    1.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,900.990
    -35.610
    -0.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,913.180
    -35.240
    -0.2%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.793
    -0.005
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.300
    0.290
    1.3%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,900.990
    -35.610
    -0.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperShipping

New ACL ship arrives in Halifax on maiden voyage

The first of a new generation of Atlantic Container Lines container and roll-on/roll-off vessels, the Atlantic Star, is due to call the Port of New York and New Jersey over the weekend.

   The Atlantic Star, the first of Atlantic Container Line’s new ships, discharged cargo in Halifax on Wednesday, and is expected in the Port of New York and New Jersey over the weekend as part of its maiden transatlantic voyage.
   The container and roll-on/roll-off cargo vessel is the first of five fourth generation or “G4” ships that ACL will put into service this year to replace the company’s current G3 generation of ships, which have been in service since the mid-1980s.
   While similar in exterior dimensions to the G3 ships they are replacing, the Atlantic Star and its sisters can carry considerably more cargo: 3,800 TEUs compared with 1,850 TEUs on the current ships, 764 ro-ro units compared with 525 units on the G3s and 1,307 cars compared with 1,000 on the older generation.
   A clever design that changes the location of the ro-ro decks and essentially replaces ballast with cargo allowed for the increase in capacity.
   The ship, which sailed from Liverpool, two days after Christmas, proved its seaworthiness in its initial crossing, sailing through a tropical storm.
   The voyage was also a business success — the ship was full on the ro-ro side and carried about 2,200 TEUs of containers — more than its prior capacity and especially notable given the fact that cargo volumes commonly slow during the winter, ACL said.
   ACL has said it might change its rotation to include a call at a South Atlantic port — it currently calls Halifax, New York, Baltimore and Norfolk — but Andrew J. Abbott, ACL’s President and CEO, said any decision about that is being postponed until more of the ships are added to the rotation and ACL has a better idea of how quickly the ships are worked.
   The company does plan to move this spring to a different terminal in Antwerp, one used by Grimaldi, its parent company. That will open new opportunities for transshipping even more cargo on services operated by sister companies Grimaldi to the Mediterranean and Finnlines to the Baltic.
   The Atlantic Star enters a trade that has seen see-sawing capacity during the past year.
   Abbott said that several carriers added new ships in 2015, boosting capacity by about 30 percent, which he said led to a free fall in rates, exacerbated by weak demand in Europe and the strong dollar.
   “We went from being perfect supply and demand to a total disaster, free fall. Eastbound rates are at all-time lows… to the point where we don’t even chase a lot of business anymore, we’re better off just moving the container back empty,” said Abbott.
   “Then, as everybody’s results started going down the drain, some common sense prevailed and people started pulling strings out,” and he said about half the capacity that was added was withdrawn. “Things have gone from being horrible in August, September, the beginning of October period to having stabilized a bit.”
   Abbott said he expects further improvements as demand picks up in the spring.

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

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