G6 partners re-organise Far East – Black Sea offer

The G6 alliance partners today announced the suspension of the carrier group’s Far East to Black Sea service ‘ABX’ in early September. At the same time, a new Port Said-based feeder will be established to serve the Black Sea and Med ports presently covered by the ‘ABX’.

OOCL furthermore announced that it will take slots on the ‘East Med to Black Sea Express’ (‘EBX’) service of Zim.

The ‘ABX’ presently calls at Ambarli (Istanbul), Constantza, Odessa, Ambarli (Istanbul), Ashdod, Port Said, Suez Canal (Way Point), Singapore, Ningbo, Shanghai, Shekou (Shenzhen), Hong Kong, Singapore, Suez Canal (Way Point), Port Said, Ashdod and Ambarli (Istanbul). The weekly service turns in 63 days and it deploys a fleet of nine ships in the size range from 5,300 to 6,750 teu. The vessels are provided by Hapag-Lloyd, MOL and OOCL.

The G6’s new weekly feeder loop will rotate as follows: Port Said, Ashdod, Ambarli (Istanbul), Constantza, Odessa, Ambarli (Istanbul), Ashdod, Port Said. It will turn in 14 days with a fleet of two ships of about 3,000 teu. The loop will therewith be an exact copy of the ‘ABX’ service’s Eastern Med to Black Sea leg.

Based at Port Said (East), the new Black Sea Feeder will connect with the alliance’s Asia to Western Med service ‘Loop 8’, also known as ‘EUM’, which recently moved its Eastern Med hub from Damietta to Port Said. In addition, the partner carriers might opt to add Port Said calls to a further Far East to Europe service in order to increase transhipment options between Asia and the Black Sea rim.

OOCL’s solution to opt for slots on Zim’s ‘EBX’ will give the carrier a slightly wider port coverage with Haifa, Ambarli (Istanbul), Novorossiysk, Odessa, Ambarli (Istanbul) and Haifa served in the Med and Black Sea. The Asian coverage of the service includes Busan, Ningbo, Shanghai, Dachan Bay (Shenzhen) and Port Kelang. Furthermore, the loop offers an eastbound call at Nhava Sheva, India.

In the mid-term, the capacity effect of the ‘ABX’ closure will be – if anything – small. Between them, the G6 carriers still have numerous ships of 13,000 teu or larger in the pipeline. These are expected to join the Asia to Europe trade lane in 2013 and 2014, where they will gradually replace 8,000 to 9,000 teu units. The G6 wil thus maintain its overall capacity on the route, even after the removal of the ‘ABX’.

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