Following a number of recent developments on the Far East to Australia trade lane, the Chinese carrier Coscon is expected to increase significantly the size of ships it deploys on the trade. Over the next couple of months, Coscon should start to phase overpanamax ships of close to 6,000 teu into the trade formerly maintained with smaller panamax-beam tonnage. In combination with the addition of one ship, the fleet up-sizing will result in a capacity increase from about 3,000 teu to some 5,600 teu per week as of July.
While the ZHONG HE, ZHEN HE and DA HE are to phase out, the COSCO DALIAN, COSCO ROTTERDAM and COSCO FELIXSTOWE are expected to join, as well as the 5,446 teu YUE HE, which is to be redelivered to Coscon by Evergreen. Cosco’s fifth vessel, the FEI HE, had already been replaced by the larger COSCO XIAMEN in late April.
Furthermore, the CMA CGM affiliate ANL is to join the Chinese carrier as a vessel provider. ANL will boost the service fleet from five to six ships, as the 42-day loop returns to a smooth weekly pattern without skipping. The carrier still has to disclose which ship it will send to the ‘SAS’.
The above changes come after Coscon and PIL seem to part ways on the Australia route where they had operated jointly and both seek new partners. While PIL is phasing out as a vessel provider on the ‘SAS’ and while ANL come onboard, Thailand’s Regional Container Lines will also join the service as a new slot-buyer. In this respect, RCL will add to MOL, NYK, OOCL, ZIM and Gold Star Line, which already buy slots and are expected to continue doing so.