Far East – ECSA reshuffle promts MSC to scale-up ‘Ipanema’ loop

Vladimir Tonic

The 8,827 teu MSC ALGHERO, ready to make her entry on ‘Ipanema’ / Credit: Vladimir Tonic

Just three months after a group of six carriers announced – and implemented – a new joint far East – ECSA service structure, consisting of three weekly loops, one of these three services will soon come to a halt.

The multi-carrier ‘ASE3’/’ECSA3’/’LE3’/’ASAX3’ joint service is to be suspended in December. Subsequently, the partner carriers involved in the loop will make individual arrangements to ensure continuity on the Asia to ECSA trade lane.

The ‘ASE3’/’ECSA3’/’LE3’/’ASAX3′ will be closed after a final sailing of Hamburg Sud’s SANTA INES, which will complete her rotation on 7 December. The loop is presently maintained with tonnage from Hanjin, CMA CGM, Hamburg Sud, CSCL and CSAV while Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line and CCNI participate through slots.

The carriers’ individual replacement solutions, as far as advertised, will look as follows:

  • CSAV and Maersk Line will take slots on MSC’s standalone ‘Ipanema service’. The carriers’ participation will begin with the first sailing from Chiwan on 28 October. In order to accommodate the extra volumes, MSC will upgrade the loop’s capacity very notably: MSC has just phased the 9,403 teu newbuilding MSC ARBATAX into the ‘Ipanema’ and further compact wide-beam ships of similar dimensions will follow soon, including the MSC ALGHERO and MSC ABIDJAN. So far, the service was run with a mixed fleet of ships of 4,000 to 6,000 teu.
  • CMA CGM and CSCL are expected to participate in the Far East ECSA ‘ESA’ loop so far jointly operated by Evergreen, Coscon and Zim. CMA CGM will deploy the 8,204 teu CMA CGM DON CARLOS to the service, whilst CSCL will contribute the 8,468 teu CSCL EUROPE.

The remaining participants in the to-be-closed loop have yet to advise their alternative service offerings.

Once more, MSC does not fail to impress – the Swiss-Italo carrier went from a very humble start in the Asia-ECSA trade to become the sole operator of a standalone high-capacity loop within less than eight months.


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