The G6 Alliance’s Far East to Europe service ‘Loop 1’, operated with MOL and NYK tonnage, will return to a full weekly fixed-day coverage in time for the summer peak season. As of September, the 77-day roundtrip loop will once again deploy a fleet of 11 container ships.
In June, the service had been temporarily downscaled as a consequence of the MOL COMFORT disaster. The structural hull failure of the 8,540 teu vessel and its subsequent loss at sea had prompted the Japanese carrier to send all of MOL COMFORT’s sister vessels to drydock and carry out additional hull strengthening.
While all of the ships of course complied with today’s shipbuilding standards in the first place, MOL had decided to follow a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach and retrofitted the ships with extra steel plating. These emergency drydockings had forced MOL to downgrade the Loop1 on a temporary basis. Now that the ships successively return from the yards, the loop can be restored to weekly departures.
Operated within the framework of the G6 Alliance, the ‘Loop 1’ rotates as follows: Rotterdam, Hamburg, Southampton, Le Havre, Suez Canal (way point), Singapore, Hong Kong, Kobe, Nagoya, Shimizu, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Vung Tau (a.k.a. Cai Mep), Singapore, Jeddah, Suez Canal (way point), Rotterdam.
At the moment, two of MOL’s C-class ships are still at the yard: The MOL CHARISMA and MOL COMPETENCE. These two are however presently not required to fully staff the Loop 1 with ships, since MOL already took delivery of three 13,900 teu ships chartered from APL this year. These units are deployed on the Far East to Europe main lines, and their entry into service gave MOL some ‘breathing space’ to reshuffle its fleet temporarily. Nevertheless, both these ships are scheduled to re-join the ‘Loop 1’ in October and November, respectively.