Coscon is to boost the capacity of its ‘CEN’ Transpacific service by 47%, from today’s 5,500 teu to about 8,100 teu weekly.
Earlier this month, the world’s fifth-largest container line has begun to phase ships of +8,000 teu into the loop. Five 8,208 teu sister vessels and one 7,490 teu vessel will gradually replace the present fleet of six small over-panamax ships. The upgrade will be complete on 8 June with the introduction of the COSCO KOREA.
The move coincides with a 1,500 teu slot charter arrangement that Coscon recently concluded with Evergreen Marine. The Taiwanese carrier joins Coscon’s alliance partners Hanjin, Yang Ming and K-Line as the forth slot charterer on the ‘CEN’ loop.
Coscon’s 8,208 teu sister ships scheduled to join the service are sourced from various other services, including Far East-Europe loops, Far East-Middle East loops and other Transpacific loops.
Indirectly the ships are made available through cascading as one 13,386 teu newbuilding joins the fleet in May and through the redelivery to Coscon of one chartered-out vessel – the COSCO VIETNAM, presently trading for MSC.
The four remaining ships are procured through cascading that has not been triggered by the delivery of newbuildings, but instead by the reactivation of idled tonnage: Over the next few weeks, Coscon is to reactivate two 13.092 teu vessels and two 10,020 teu ships. These vessels will free the tonnage that is needed for the Transpacific upgrade.
One question that remains is the fate of the smaller ships that are to be replaced. While some of them are to be redeployed elsewhere within the Coscon network, at least some of the ships are bound to be idled. Alternatively, these small overpanamax ships might replace 1990ies-built panamax tonnage which Coscon could send for recycling at this occasion.