Maersk Line is to upscale significantly its Far East to Europe service ‘AE2’, in a move that will see many of today’s 8,400 teu units replaced by ships of 13,000 teu or larger.
The fleet exchange is triggered by the deliveries of numerous units of Maersk Line’s giant 18,270 teu triple-E-class ships. As these new leviathans phase into the carrier’s ‘AE10’ service, they successively replace ‘smaller’ ships of the 13,000 teu class, which in turn switch to the ‘AE2’.
Until very recently the ‘AE10’ was run with eight Maersk-owned Odense-built ‘Emma’ E-class units of 15,500 teu and four chartered Hyundai-built 13,092 teu ships. The phase-in of the 18,270 teu MAERSK MC-KINNEY MOLLER has since pushed the first of the 13,092 teu vessels, MAERSK ELBA, into the ‘AE2’. Similarly, the upcoming triple-E units will push further large vessels from the ‘AE10’ to the ‘AE2’: MAJESTIC MAERSK is to replace the MAERSK EUBANK, while triple-E number three, MARY MAERSK, is to replace the MAERSK EDMONTON.
Following this cascading pattern, the ‘AE2’ is also expected to receive the first of the 15,500 teu ‘Emma’ types, which are to join Maersk’s game of ‘musical chairs’ as soon as the fifth triple-E joins the ‘AE10’.
The ‘AE2’ would therewith become the third Asia-Europe mainline service to employ next-generation ULCS, that are notably larger than today’s commonplace 13,000 to 14,000 teu vessels, adding in this respect to the ‘AE10’ and to the CMA CGM and UASC-operated ‘FAL1’ / ‘AEC2’ on which CSCL, CSAV and most notably MSC slot.
The to-be-upgraded ‘AE2’ turns in 77 days with a fleet of 11 ships on the following rotation: Hamburg, Antwerp, Felixstowe, Suez Canal (way point), Singapore, Busan, Hakata, Dalian, Tianjin (aka Xingang), Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Yantian (Shenzhen), Tanjung Pelepas, Suez Canal (way point), Le Havre, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven.
Meanwhile, the displaced 8,400 teu ships from the ‘AE2’ are expected to boost Maersk’s Asia to USEC via Suez trade lane and cascade into the carrier’s AE9 / TP7 follow up service.