As previously announced, Maersk Line will notably increase the capacity of its Western Med to Middle East Gulf service ‘ME2’. The world’s largest shipping line will soon replace ‘ME2’s fleet of 5,600 teu container vessels with 7,500 teu ships.
The weekly ‘ME2’, which maintains a seven-week round-trip, is presently run with five Maersk-owned 5,6218 teu ships and the sub-chartered 5,447 teu HANJIN VENEZIA and sailing skipped every seven weeks.
While Maersk recently returned the charter vessel to Hanjin Shipping, it also starts to phase-in larger ships. Over the course of the coming two months, the carrier will bring in six 7,250 teu over-panamax ships of the Korean-built Maersk Seletar-type and the 6,674 teu MAERSK KIMI.
The Seletar-type ships are partially sourced from reactivation after idling, but also from redeployment from other services. Many of them come from Maersk Line’s Asia to South Africa service ‘Safari’ where they have been replaced by 6,673 teu wide-beam newbuildings from Hyundai Samho shipyard
In addition to the effect from the larger vessels, the ‘ME2’s capacity is also boosted by the return to a seven-ship fleet without any skipped sailings. As the hopefully stronger second half of the year approaches, Maersk Line increased capacity again. In addition to the ‘ME2’, the carrier is also boosting its US-flagged Middle East to USEC service ‘MECL1’ with ships of 6,500 teu.