BG Freight Line, a subsidiary of the UK’s Peel Ports Group, is to suspend its weekly intra-Iberia service, so far run with the 868 teu vessels BERIT and BOTTENVIK.
At the same time, the Rotterdam-based operator is to take slots allocations on the Spain-related services of Unifeeder. The Danish short sea and feeder line had recently opened a number of new services in the Western Med and along the southwest European Atlantic coast, centered on the Gibraltar Straits hub port of Algeciras.
BG Freight will offer following coverage:
- Algeciras, Vigo, Bilbao, Algeciras
- Algeciras, Lisbon, Leixoes, Algeciras
The BOTTENVIK has been chartered by Maersk Line Seago for the Levant – Black Sea ‘Citrus’ season.
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.
Unifeeder, which this week announced the imminent takeover of the Mediterranean common feeder operator UFS, is to launch a new service from the Gibraltar Straits hub of Algeciras to ports in Italy and Malta.
The weekly loop will turn in 14 days with two ships and it will serve the following ports: Algeciras, Vado Ligure, Livorno, Naples, Salerno, Marsaxlokk, Algeciras.
Unifeeder has chartered the 1,732 teu GLUECKSBURG and the 1,716 teu SAMARIA for deployment on the new service. Given the recent takeover of UFS, it remains to be seen if the new offer is to be marketed under the house flag of Unifeeder or UFS.
The new service will mainly be supported by volumes from Maersk Line, which will close its own weekly service on the route and opt for slots on the new loop instead. The new Unifeeder/UFS offer is intended as a direct successor and will call the exact same ports as the present Maersk service.
Maersk presenty deploys the 1,732 teu EM SPETES and the 1,373 teu MAERSK TANGIER, which are to phase out on the 4 and 11 of October, respectively. The Danish carrier is expected to return the former ship to Eurobulk / Pitteas at the end of a time charter and return the latter ship to Technomar at the end of a sale-and-charter back. At 23 years of age, the MAERSK TANGIER appears to be a candidate for recycling.
The Denmark-based Unifeeder Group, specialised in common feeder operations in Northern Europe, has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire United Feeder Services (UFS), a common feeder operator in the Med. The price of the takeover has not been disclosed.
In combination, the two companies will maintain the largest network of common container feeders in Europe, covering the Baltic and North Sea as well as the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Unifeeder and UFS will continue to trade as separate companies and with separate organisations, but will focus on combining their capabilities to improve services and operations.
The transaction is expected to close at the end of October, subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
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.
A year ago, the expanding shipping line already acquired a smaller short sea operator and took over the Netherlands-registered Feederlink from the Irish Continental Group.
In May, Unifeeder had already expanded into the Med under its own flag and launched a new service from Spain to Tunisia. It is presently not known whether the carrier’s new Med activities will remain under the Unifeeder brand or whether the takeover will see the southern Europe operations regrouped under UFS, while the Unifeeder brand refocuses on Northern Europe.
UFS was founded at the beginning of 1999 through the merger of three feeder operators in the Mediterranean where it operates an extensive network that covers over 35 ports served with a fleet of about 20 vessels. The company is headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus.