Friday, 24 April 2009

Maersk Makes Sweeping Asia-Europe Changes

Ocean carrier to cut costs through vessel sharing, port changes
Maersk Line today announced sweeping changes in the port coverage from Asia to North Europe, where it will focus on Felixstowe and Le Havre, and from Asia to the Mediterranean, where it is entering two new vessel-sharing agreements with CMA CGM, starting in mid-May.
The changes will not cut capacity but are designed instead to reduce costs by nailing down volume discounts at the two north Europe ports and by sharing larger and more economic vessels with CMA CGM.
The Danish carrier recently signed a new long-term agreement with the Port of Felixstowe that gives it discounts based on guaranteed volumes, said Philip Damas, division director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors in London.
By dropping Southampton from the rotation of its AE1 service, it will meet those volume commitments, Damas said. In addition, Felixstowe also has a new rail service that can handle high-cube containers, which Southampton “is struggling to handle.”
The carrier is also dropping calls at Le Havre by its AE1 service, and will add them instead to its AE10 service, which will make direct calls from China at the French port.
In its services to the Mediterranean, Maersk will now run the AE11 (Asia-Jeddah, Egypt, Italy, France) service in a vessel-sharing agreement with CMA-CGM. At the same time, it will introduce direct calls from Asia to Trieste and Koper on the AE12 service, also in partnership with CMA-CGM.
By entering these two new VSAs, Maersk will reduce costs and gain economies of scale by using larger vessels, Damas said.

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