WALLENIUS WILHELMSEN EXITS TRANSPACIFIC CONTAINER MARKET
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines will exit the high-volume transpacific container market by the end of the year to focus its activities more on rolling stock and cars.
The Scandinavian roll-on/roll-off shipping group is restructuring its ocean services as part of a gradual switch from the container sector to the car sector. Until now, Wallenius Wilhelmsen has carried about 2,000 TEUs a month on its multipurpose container-ro/ro ships in the transpacific trade.
But the shipping line said recently it is converting four of its largest container-ro/ro ships to pure ro/ro ships. The vessels concerned are the 2,455-TEU “Taiko,” “Tampa” and “Texas” — all built in 1984 — and the 2,800-TEU “Taronga,” built in 1996.
The ships operate in Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines’ fortnightly round-the-world service. The service, which incorporates an Asia/North America leg, has a rotation of northern Europe, U.S. East Coast, Australasia, Far East, U.S. West Coast, U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf and northern Europe.
For years, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines has made no secret of its plan to refocus its diversified cargo base more towards rolling stock and cars and away from containers.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines’ fortnightly round-the-world service will be revamped by the end of this year. All nine container-ro/ro ships in this service will be either withdrawn or converted. The four vessels converted to ro/ros will then operate alongside the line’s 5,500-car “Mark IV” ro/ro ships in a revised round-the-world service. The fortnightly service will then carry rolling stock, autos and project cargoes. If a project shipment on the transpacific route also includes associated containerized freight, containers will then be moved under deck.
However, Wallenius Wilhelmsen will no longer “cater for the mass market” in the transpacific container market, a spokesman for the company said.
Wilh. Wilhelmsen, one of the two owners of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines, recently said that “weak rate levels” for container transport continued to have negative effects on the results of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines in the second quarter.