With immediate effect, MCC Transport, the intra-Asia arm of the APM-M Group and a sister company of Maersk Line, is adding a Vladivostok extension to its China – Japan – Philippines ‘PHI4’ service.
The rotation will be extended by one week and the 887 teu MARMAN, so far assigned to a Busan – Vladivostok shuttle joins the four 1,100+ teu vessels deployed on ‘PHI4’.
A second Busan call is added, whilst Shanghai and Ningbo swap places. The new rotation reads as follows:
Busan, Vladivostok, Busan, Osaka, Kobe, Hakata, Yantian, Hong Kong, Manila (north and south), Cagayan de Oro (aka Tagoloan, Mindanao), Shanghai, Ningbo, Busan.
With these changes MCC is effectively consolidating two services, a Korea – Russia shuttle and a Pan-Asia loop, into a single Pan-Asia service with a five-week round trip. Most likely, the changes are implemented to allow the carrier to bunker the five ships at Vladivostok, where fuel oil is generally available at a lower-than-average rate.
Diversions to North East Russia to take advantage of cheaper bunker (see prices at Ship&Bunker) are becoming more and more popular. Hyundai Merchant Marine carried out a similar service consolidation last month, with the merger of a Korea- Russia shuttle and its Korea – India service. Many other lines have added Vostochny bunkering calls to their transpacific services and Hamburg Süd even sent its brand new CAP SAN NICOLAS to Vladivostok to ‘fill her up’, before the ship enters commercial service on the Asia-ECSA tradelane.