CSBC delivers EVER LINKING (9,200 teu)

The Evergreen Group has taken delivery of the UK-registered 9,200 teu vessel EVER LINKING. The ship is the 16th of 30 units in the carrier’s series of new L-class ships and the second vessel of the series that was built at CSBC Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Evergreen had decided to split the 30-strong series of new L-class ships between the South Korean yards Samsung Heavy Industries (20 ships) and CSBC Kaohsiung (10 units).

The new vessel follows the EVER LIVING, delivered in September as the first CSBC-built ship of the type.

Evergreen will phase the EVER LINKING into its ‘CES’ Far East to Northern Europe service, where several of the new L-class units are to replace the last remaining 7,024 teu Evergreen S-class ships.

The new L-type vessels were the largest container ships in Evergreen’s fleet until the recent delivery of the 13,900 teu THALASSA HELLAS, the first of a series of ten ultra-large ships that Evergreen is to charter from the Greek non-operating owner Enesel.

Initially, Evergreen had been very conservative when it comes to newbuilding orders. For years, the carrier had the smallest order book of any major container line and it refrained from ordering ultra-large vessels when many of its rivals opted for +13,000 teu ships. In 2010 and 2011 Evergreen finally embarked on a 30 ship newbuilding program, which it topped up in 2012 with a deal with Enesel for even bigger ships.

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P3 setup update: Europe – North America

Subject to regulatory approval, the proposed P3 alliance – Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM – plans to restructure the three carriers’ east-west mainline services. The new joint network will lead to a consolidation of strings and to an up-sizing of the vessel fleet.

The P3 alliance’s Transatlantic pattern will consist of five dedicated weekly services: Three North Europe loops and two Med slings.

Additionally, one Suez-routed Asia to USEC service which performs way calls at Algeciras (WB) and Tanger Med (EB) is expected to serve partially as a Med to USEC loop.

One further Suez-routed Asia to USEC features underway calls at Haifa (WB and EB), but can be omitted from the count of actual Transatlantic services as Haifa is not a major hub and volumes are expected to be limited.

It has to be noted that the P3 agreement does not cover all Transatlantic activities of Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM.

Offerings such as dedicated India and Middle East to USEC loops, Panama-routed Europe to ANZ services with USEC coverage, as well as Canada-related services, remain outside the scope of the P3.

In many cases, such services are offered in partnership with third parties outside the ‘big three’.

On the mainlines however, the P3 alliance’s Transatlantic network of five loops will succeed a pattern of seven loops.

Nevertheless, the alliance is expected to increase its Transatlantic capacity by some 15%, as the partner carriers will phase many large ships into the consolidated service structure.

In 2014, many of today’s 4,000 to 6.750 teu vessels trading between Europe and North America for P3 member lines, will be replaced or supplemented by 8,500 teu units.

Many such ships have become available since the Asia-Europe trunk routes are being boosted to capacities of 13,000 to 16,000 teu per week, with numerous newbuilt ultra-large vessels.

The P3 Europe / Med – North America setup looks as follows:

Northern Europe to USEC and US Gulf

North Atlantic / Liberty Bridge / TA1
Bremerhaven, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, New York, Bremerhaven

South Atlantic / Victory Bridge / TA2
Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Le Havre, Charleston, Freeport, Miami, Veracruz, Altamira, Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Antwerp

(MSC name) / Equality Bridge / TA3
Antwerp, Rotterdam, Felixstowe, Bremerhaven, Le Havre, New York, Charleston, Savannah, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Freeport, Norfolk, Antwerp

Mediterranean to USEC and US Gulf

(MSC name) / Amerigo / TA5
Gioia Tauro, Naples, La Spezia, Genoa, Fos-sur-Mer, Valencia, Sines, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Norfolk, Savannah, Charleston, Valencia, Gioia Tauro

(MSC name) / Med-Gulf / TA6
Gioia Tauro, La Spezia, Genoa, Barcelona, Valencia, Sines, Freeport, Port Everglades, Veracruz, Altamira, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Freeport (Bah.), Sines, Algeciras, Barcelona, Gioia Tauro

Atlantic / Vespucci / (tbd) (as part of an Asia – USEC service with waycalls at the Gibraltar Strait hubs of Algeciras and Tanger)
(From Asia via Suez…), Valencia, Algeciras, New York, Savannah, Charleston, Tanger Med, Marsaxlokk, (…to Asia via Suez).

Hanjin to halt Portland calls in 2014

South Korea’s Hanjin shipping will drop the call at Portland, Oregon, from its ‘PNH’ service in early 2014. The US West Coast port, located on the Columbia river, will therewith lose its one and only Transpacific container service.

Hanjin blamed rising handling charges and sagging longshore labor productivity for its decision. So far, the ‘PNH’ service handled an average of about 1,600 containers per week, Hanjin therewith accounts for 80 percent of Portland’s container business.

Apart from Westwood’s forest product service, which also accepts limited numbers of containers, Hapag-Lloyd’s and Hamburg Sud’s joint Panama Canal-routed Mediterranean – WCNA loop ‘MPS’ will remain the only container service left at Portland.

Hanjin’s decision is a major blow to the Manila-headquartered terminal operator ICTSI, which runs Portland’s container pier. The company is only a few years into a 25-year concession period and attracting new cargo or even new carriers to Portland is increasingly turning into an uphill task.

CCNI and NSC order fifth 9,030 teu compact wide beam ship at Hanjin Philippines

CCNI has added a fifth 9,030 teu ship to its pipeline. The vessel has been ordered at Hanjin Subic Bay Shipyard in the Philippines.

Just as the four earlier ships of the series, the new vessel will be owned jointly by Grupo Empresas Navieras, the majority shareholder in CCNI, and by the Hamburg-based non-operating owner NSC Schiffahrt.

Scheduled for delivery in mid-2015, the vessel has been ordered for a price of USD 81.60 million. All five units will be compact wide-beam ships with a length of 300.00m and a beam of 48.20m (19 rows). The vessels will have provisions to carry up to 1,200 reefer containers.

P3 setup update: Far East – North America

The P3 alliance’s Far East to North America network will consist of six Asia-WCNA loops and four Asia-USEC/US-Gulf loops.

Out of the former, five services will be aimed at the Pacific Southwest, meaning California, while one loop serves the Pacific Northwest, meaning Seattle and Vancouver.

The four Asia-USEC/US-Gulf loops comprise three Suez-routed loops and one service via the Panama Canal.

As far as the Asia-WCNA services are concerned, the P3 alliance’s six-loop pattern will very much resemble today’s service structure of Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM.

This is not particularly surprising since the three carriers already operate under a vessel sharing agreement on the transpacific tradelane since 2008.

One interesting aspect of the route setup is that MSC appears not to participate in the Pacific Northwest service. So far, MSC has only confirmed its participation in the Californian services, which cover the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland.

At least for the time being, the establishment of the joint P3 service structure will have little impact on the carriers’ overall capacity on this route.

Since the carriers all have long-standing ties or even shareholdings (through sister companies) in terminals on the US West Coast, the new P3 pattern might lead to some changes of terminals. This effect might also lead to some shifts between the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

One interesting aspect of the P3 service pattern is that five out of six weekly strings are operationally merged into butterfly or pendulum services. Only the ‘Sunrise / Sunrise / TP5’ is a pure single-sling Transpacific service. The five remaining loops are all operationally paired with other slings – either into pendulum or butterfly services.

The reasons for this can be numerous: They can include more flexible vessel deployment, regular calls at ports with lower bunker prices, optimization of sailing speeds, etc… In case of pendulums, increased direct port coverage is also an advantage.

The P3 Far East – North America setup looks as follows:

Asia to Pacific South West (California)

Pearl / PRX1 / TP6 (this service is operationally grafted into a pendulum with the Asia-Europe service Lion / FAL2 / AE2)
(Europe and Middle East….), Singapore, Vung Tau (aka Cai Mep), Nansha, Hong Kong, Yantian (Shenzhen), Long Beach, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian (Shenzhen), Chiwan (Shenzhen), Tanjung Pelepas, (…Europe and Middle East),

Eagle / PRX2 / TP1 (this service is operationally grafted into a pendulum with the Asia-Med service Phoenix / PHOEX / AE12)

(Mediterranean…), Tanjung Pelepas, Chiwan (Shenzhen), Yantian (Shenzhen), Xiamen, Long Beach, Oakland, Busan, Ningbo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chiwan (Shenzhen), Yantian (Shenzhen), Singapore, (…Mediterranean)

Jaguar / Yangtze / TP2 (this service is operationally grafted into a butterfly with the Asia-USWC service New Orient / Bohai / TP8)
…, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shanghai, Ningbo, Long Beach, Dalian, Tianjin (aka Xingang), Qingdao, Shanghai,…)

New Orient / Bohai / TP8 (this service is operationally grafted into a butterfly with the Asia-USWC service Jaguar / Yangtze / TP2)
(…),Dalian, Tianjin (aka Xingang), Qingdao, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Oakland, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Shanghai, Ningbo, (…)

Sunrise / Sunrise / TP5
Busan, Hakata, Nagoya, Yokohama, Long Beach, Oakland, Dutch Harbor, Yokohama, Kobe, Busan, Qingdao, Kwangyang

Asia to Pacific North West (Seattle and Vancouver)

(no MSC name) / Columbus / TP9 (this service is operationally grafted into the Asia-Europe service Empire / Columbus / TP11)
(USEC via Suez…), Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian (Shenzhen), Shanghai, Busan, Seattle, Vancouver (Can), Yokohama, Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian (Shenzhen), (…USEC via Suez)

Asia to USEC

Empire / Columbus / TP11 (this service is operationally grafted into the Asia-Europe service Empire / Columbus / TP9)
(PNW…) Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian (Shenzhen), Suez Canal (way point), New York, Norfolk, Savannah, Suez Canal (way point), Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian (Shenzhen), Shanghai, Busan, (…PNW).

America / (tbd) / TP12
Shanghai, Xiamen, Chiwan (Shenzhen), Yantian (Shenzhen), Singapore, Salalah, Suez Canal (way point), Haifa, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Savannah, Freeport (Grand Bahama), Haifa, Suez Canal (way point), Salalah, Colombo, Singapore

Atlantic / Vespucci / (tbd)
Shanghai, Tanjung Pelepas, Suez Canal (way point), Valencia, Algeciras, New York, Savannah, Charleston, Tanger Med, Marsaxlokk, Suez Canal (way point), Kaohsiung, Ningbo, Shanghai

Everglades / PEX3 / (tbd)
Ningbo, Shanghai, Qingdao, Busan, Panama Canal (waypoint), Manzanillo (Pan), Miami, Houston, Mobile, Panama Canal (waypoint), Vostochny, Yantian (Shenzhen), Ningbo.

Note that some services to America, such as for example loops to the Canadian East Coast, appear to be excluded from the P3 partnership. Here, the carriers will maintain their individual service solutions – often in partnership with carriers outside the P3.

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See earlier P3 updates:

Brodosplit to build LNG-powered container ships

The Croatian shipbuilder Brodosplit has received orders for two LNG-powered container vessels. While the yard did not disclose the identity of the owner, it is believed that the vessels are to be built for a sister company of Brodosplit itself, which will then place them on the charter market.

Technical details of the ships have not been provided, but the vessels are expected to fall within the size range from 1,300 to 1,500 teu. The ships will be gearless units with a fully-enclosed deckhouse in the all-aft position. The layout suggests that the ships have been designed with the intra-European feeder trades in mind. The ships will be suited in particular for the North Sea and Baltic, where increasingly tight sulphur emission standards will soon mandate the burning of cleaner fuels or, alternatively, the installation of exhaust gas treatment devices.

Brodosplit said the ships are scheduled for delivery in 2015.

Unifeeder gears up in the Mediterranean with new services centered at Algeciras

Manuel Hernandez Lafuente

The MAERSK TANGIER has been chartered by Unifeeder and will trade under TANGIER name / Credit: Manuel Hernandez Lafuente

Unifeeder, the Denmark-based common feeder and shortsea operator that recently acquired the Mediterranean feeder carrier United Feeder Services, keeps expanding its presence in Southern Europe.

In September, Unifeeder had announced the launch of an Algeciras – Italy service. The loop was opened with the backing of Maersk Line which shut one of its own services in the trade and which opted for slots on the new Unifeeder loop instead. The new Unifeeder service was scheduled to launch with the following rotation: Algeciras, Vado Ligure, Livorno, Naples, Salerno, Marsaxlokk, Algeciras.

It now turns out that Unifeeder will in fact operate this service as an Algeciras-based butterfly loop with an Italy wing and a Portugal wing. Therefore, a third ship has been deployed to maintain weekly sailings on what is now a 21-day rotation. The extended loop now incorporates the aforementioned Italy coverage as well as calls at Lisbon and Leixoes.

The Portugal – Algeciras – Italy butterfly looks as follows:

Algeciras, Vado Ligure, Livorno, Naples, Salerno, Marsaxlokk, Algeciras, Lisbon, Leixoes, Algeciras.

Further to this, Unifeeder has launched another Algeciras-based butterfly which covers ports in Spain and in France. This weekly service also turns in 21 days with a fleet of three vessels.

While both loops rotate in three weeks with three ships, they differ in one main aspect: The Portugal and Italy service has two longer wings, whereas the Spain and France loop is a three winged butterfly with three consecutive sub-slings of somewhat shorter duration.

The Algeciras-based Spain and France triple butterfly looks as follows:

Algeciras, Barcelona, Fos-sur-mer, Algeciras, Valencia, Algeciras, Vigo, Bilbao, Algeciras.

To staff these loops with vessels, Unifeeder has been quite active in the charter market and secured five ships of about 1,700 teu and one slightly smaller unit.