Maersk – Seago has re-opened its seasonal Levant – Black Sea service, a loop which is – among others – aimed at citrus fruit and other agricultural products.
The loop which was suspended in late May re-opens today with a first sailing of the 1,155 teu ORKUN KALKAVAN from Mersin. After a single inaugural round voyage, the vessel is to be replaced by the MAERSK ARUN, who will sail alongside the 968 teu BOTTENVIK, so far employed by BG Freight.
The rotation reads as follows: Mersin, Ashdod, Novorossiysk, Mersin.
China’s Sainty Shipyard has delivered the 1,070 teu vessel SAINTY VOGUE. The ice-classed container vessel appears to be managed by an entity of the Sainty Marine Group and thus a sister company of the shipyard.
Sainty has been a prolific builder of various types of small ice-classed container vessels, typically built to European standard designs for the accounts of north European owners.
The SAINTY VOGUE and her yet-to-be-delivered sister ship, due in 2014, seem to be hulls that were originally earmarked for a European non-operating owner, but which were dropped when European ship financing dried up.
Now controlled by the Sainty Marine Group itself, the SAINTY VOGUE has been chartered to Maersk Line, who will deploy the ship on the recently-launched Morocco to Russia citrus season service. The SAINTY VOGUE will phase into the service on 11 November after her positioning trip from China to Morocco.
With direct calls at St Petersburg throughout the winter, the new Maersk-Seago loop requires ice-classed tonnage.
Along with the begin of this winter’s citrus season, the French carrier CMA CGM is to re-open its seasonal container liner service between Egypt to the Black Sea. The new weekly fixed-day loop will serve two purposes:
- Firstly, it will act as a fruit-oriented direct service from Damietta and Port Said to Novorossiysk, Russia’s main Black Sea import gateway for persihables.
- Secondly, it will take over the role of CMA CGM’s Turkey to Novorossiysk Black Sea feeder, which is to be integrated into the wider rotation of the new Egypt to Russia link and whose only vessel – the 677 teu MARINA – will be absorbed by the new service.
Starting from 6 October, two ships will be employed on a 14-day round trip, calling at: Damietta, Port Said, Ambarli (Istanbul Area), Novorossiysk, Gemlik, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Damietta
In addition to the aforementioned MARINA, the French Line will deploy the 694 teu JRS CAPELLA to the service.
United Feeder Services will participate and take a slot allocation on the new connection.
Maersk Line is to implement its annual ‘winter pattern’ in the trade from Central America and Mexico to Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea.
As part of the seasonal changes, the Danish carrier will drop the Baltic leg of its ‘CRX’ loop in mid-October.
The service will therefore lose its present calls at St Petersburg and Kotka and its rotation will be shortened from eight weeks to six.
With the exception of the closed Russia and Finland extension, the service’s port coverage will remain unaltered: Tilbury, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Vera Cruz, Altamira, Big Creek, Manzanillo (Panama), Moin, Cork, Tilbury.
St Petersburg and Kotka will remain covered directly with Maersk’s second fruit-oriented service between Central America and the Baltic: The ‘Ecubex’.
While both the ‘CRX’ and ‘Ecubex’ deploy high-reefer full container ships of about 2,500 teu, Maersk Line only has six such units with ice class at its disposal. Since ice-strengthened ships are required to serve the northern Baltic in winter, only one of the loops can maintain a year-round St Petersburg link.
Hence, Maersk Line now rounds up the sextet and concentrates all sisters on the ‘Ecubex’ in time for the icing season. A number of vessels will thus swap places in the coming weeks.
Direct ‘CRX’ port pairs between Central America, Russia and Finland will be maintained via transhipment at Bremerhaven’s NTB Terminal, using either the ‘Ecubex’ or space on common feeders.
The present ‘CRX’ and ‘Ecubex’ summer pattern had been established in May and the upcoming winter pattern is expected to last until second quarter of 2014.
The European shortsea container specialist Unifeeder today announced the launch of a new service from the northern France port of Dunkerque to Russia’s St Petersburg.
Unifeeder said the loop was scheduled to launch in early November with weekly departures and it would feature a stopover at Rotterdam, where connections with other Unifeeder services are offered.
According to the carrier the new loop will focus on the French market and reefer containers to Russia. The reefer service aims in particular at the agricultural and food sectors.
The shipping line commented: ‘After a great success with the opening of our Antwerp to St. Petersburg service in the beginning of 2012 and with increasing cargo volumes from France, we feel confident that there is a highly interesting market in France’.
Unifeeder currently deploy six vessels between Russia and port of Germany and the Benelux countries, as well as one vessel which serves Gdynia and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
For Dunkirk, Unifeeder’s new service will be second link to St Petersburg, adding to CMA CGM’s ‘St Petersburg A’ Baltic service.
Unifeeder is the largest lolo shortsea operator in Northern Europe and it operates a fleet of over 40 vessels in the size range from 700 to 1,600 teu. The carrier refers to itself as the ‘asset light logistics company’ since its entire vessel fleet is time chartered. Since April this year, Unifeeder is owned by the Stockholm-based private equity investment firm Nordic Capital.
Team Lines, a subsidiary of the Belgian Delphis Group and a specialist in the north European feeder market, is to replace the St Petersburg call by a call at Ust-Luga on its ‘RUS1’ service. Ust-Luga, a satellite port of greater St Petersburg region, will be served as of mid-June.
The revised ‘RUS1’ will call at: Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Ust-Luga, Bremerhaven and it will be maintained by the 1,036 teu sisters ANNE SIBUM and GRETE SIBUM.
The ‘RUS1’ is presently served as part of a two-loop system, referred to as the ‘FIN1’-‘RUS1’ butterfly. This means that two Northrange-Baltic rotations have been operationally joined to form a butterfly with a 21-day round trip time and weekly fixed-day sailings on each of the two wings. It therefore remains to be seen which of two scenarios actually plays out: Team Lines might continue to run the three-week butterfly and add another service on top of it, meaning that Ust-Luga would be served additionally, with two extra ships added to the fleet. Alternatively, Team Lines might simply de-merge the ‘FIN1’-‘RUS1’ butterfly back into two 14-day loops, each served with two ships. This would require the addition of one vessel. In this case, Ust-Luga would effectively replace one of Team Lines’s St. Petersburg calls.
With immediate effect, CMA CGM has modified the European Northrange rotation of its ‘St Petersburg Feeder A’, one of four weekly services, which the French Lines offers to the Russian city of St Petersburg. The northern French port of Dukirk has been moved to the start of the rotation, which now reads:
Dunkirk, Zeebruegge, Antwerp, Kiel Canal (way point), St Petersburg, Kiel Canal (way point),Dunkirk.
At Dunkirk, CMA CGM offers connections to various deep sea services including the large-scale MSC-operated ‘Lion’ (which CMA CGM calls ‘FAL7’) and CMA CGM’s standalone Europe-India service ‘EPIC’.
CMA CGM’s ‘St Petersburg Feeder A’ turns in 14 days with a fleet of two ships. The vessels in service are the 1,436 teu ALSTERDIJK and the 1,480 teu INDEPENDENT CONCEPT.