Far East to ECSA restructuring – an update

Following last month’s news that a group of six carriers – Maersk Line, CMA CGM, Hamburg Süd, CSAV, CSCL and Hanjin – are to launch three ‘new’ high-capacity services in the Far East – ECSA trade to replace three existing loops, further details of the restructured operating pattern have now emerged.

Details regarding the first of the revised loops, the Maersk and CMA CGM operated ‘ASAS’ or ‘SEAS’ were already reported this Wednesday. Here is the update on details of the remaining two services, the ‘ECSA 2’ / ‘ASAX 2’ / ‘ASAS 2’ / ‘NGX 2’ and ‘ECSA 3’ / ‘ASAX 3’ / ‘ASAS 3’ / ‘NGX 3’, to use the individual nomenclature of the carriers involved.

Vladimir Tonic

9,669 teu CAP SAN NICOLAS and sisters: the largest capacity ships ever to serve South America / Credit: Vladimir Tonic

The new ‘ECSA 2’ / ‘ASAX 2’ / ‘ASAS 2’ / ‘NGX 2’ is perhaps the most interesting of the three new services, as it will claim the distinction of deploying the largest-capacity ships ever to serve South America. The German carrier Hamburg Süd will be the lead partner on this service and it will not only contribute the biggest but also the most ships to the joint fleet. At least the first four of Hamburg Süd’s new ‘Cap San’ class ships will phase into this loop either straight from delivery or, as in case of the lead vessels, after a round-trip in another Far East to ECSA loop. Additionally, Hamburg Süd brings in a 7,800 teu Santa (Mk-II) type vessel.

The other three shipping lines with operator status on the service, CSCL, Hanjin and CSAV will deploy vessels in the size range from 6,500 to 8,500 teu. With an average weekly capacity of 8,526 teu, the loop will turn in 12 weeks with 12 ships. Maersk Line and CMA CGM will participate through slots.

The port rotation of the new joint loop reads as follows: Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Chiwan (Shenzhen), Singapore, Port Kelang, Santos, Paranagua, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio Grande, Itapoa, Santos, Durban, Port Kelang, Singapore, Hong Kong.

The ‘ECSA 3’ / ‘ASAX 3’ / ‘ASAS 3’ / ‘NGX 3’ will be operated jointly by Maersk Line, Hamburg Süd, Hanjin, CSCL and CSAV with CMA CGM as a slotter. The loop will turn in 11 weeks with a fleet of 11 ships. Most of the co-operators will deploy vessels in the size range from about 6,500 to 8,500 teu. Only Hamburg Süd will – at least initially – contribute two smaller 4,600 teu ships in addition to one 7,800 teu ship. The German carrier is however expected to send two 6,600 teu newbuildings it is to receive in August and September from Zodiac Maritime to the service and thus bring its tonnage contribution more in line with its peers.

The port rotation of the new joint loop reads as follows: Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan (Shenzhen), Yantian (Shenzhen), Singapore, Santos, Paranagua, Itapoa, Singapore, Hong Kong.


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