In a total reversal of the age-old slow steaming exercise when lines deployed extra vessels to allow savings on fuel costs when fuel prices were high, the CKYHE Alliance has decided to take advantage of the falling costs in fuel prices and do away with slow steaming.
Instead, Hanjin will cut back on vessel deployment, speed up at least one of its services, and save on vessel deployment costs on the Hanjin-operated Asia/USEC service known as the AWE1 from the beginning of March.
The AWE1 service has, since February 2013, operated with 10 Hanjin vessels in the Panamax capacity frame on a slow steaming schedule, but starting with the sailing of the 4,850 teu Hanjin San Diego from Ningbo on March 1, the AWE1 will deploy nine 4,250/4,850 teu vessels instead of 10, but still cover the same ports and provide the same transit times east- and west-bound.
AWE1 port coverage: Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, New York, Wilmington, Savannah, Ensenada, Pusan, Pyongtaek, Ningbo.
The deployment cost-saving exercise is also taking place on the Asia/Europe trades, where several lines have cut back on capacity deployment to save on operational costs, but maintaining the same port schedules and port berthing windows.
The latter is an equally important factor as most ports and terminals would charge on switching berthing windows, and such a move may not be limited to one or two ports.
By Paul Richardson
Sea Freight Correspondent | London