One of the biggest moves to affect the China/US container trades in recent weeks has been the announcement by the CKYHE Alliance lines (COSCO, K Line, Yangming, Hanjin, Evergreen), that they intend to expand their cooperation to the US trades.
Consequently, the lines have submitted a formal letter to China’s Ministry of Transport, filed with the Federal Maritime Commission a Filing Agreement to cover US trades, and informed the EU Commission of those developments.
The much expected, but now officially announced move, means that on the US trades, CKYHE will follow the same pattern of cooperation that the alliance lines have used on the Asia/Europe and Asia/Mediterranean trades during the past year.
After the regulators approve, the parties will discuss and agree their cooperation with a target implementation date of spring 2015.
The China/US West coast trade has also welcomed its first containerships in the 13,000+ teu capacity frame, with COSCO, Evergreen and Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) leading the way into the megaship league.
COSCO and Evergreen have just completed the capacity upgrade of their jointly-operated Taiwan/Hong Kong – Pacific South West (PSW) network known as the HTW/SEA service from mid-October with the deployment of the 13,386 teu newbuilding COSCO Denmark.
The upgrade will then mean the service will be the first on the Asia/USWC trade to operate entirely with 13,000+ teu vessels. The only other operating with 13,000 teu vessels is the MSC/CMA-CGM Pearl River Express which has a mixed capacity deployment of 11,000/13,000 teu vessels.
COSCO Denmark is scheduled to phase in at Taipei on October 15, replacing the 10,020 teu COSCO Pacific, and from then on the service will operate with six 13,000+ teu vessels
Port coverage: Taipei, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Taipei
Three of the six vessels are operated by COSCO, the other three by Evergreen on charter from COSCO.
On the operational side, the G6 Alliance lines have announced a winter service programme for the Asia/USEC trade, which combines the NYE and SCE services, taking out around 4,700 teu of weekly on the Panama Canal route in order to cater for the seasonal downturn.
Under the newly-merged service structure, the port rotation will be: Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai, Pusan, Manzanillo, Kingston, Savannah, Charleston, New York, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Kingston, Manzanillo, Balboa, Pusan, Xiamen
The first sailing of the combined service will be by the 4,646 teu Hyundai Glory, which is scheduled to leave Xiamen on October 30.
The last sailings of the temporarily suspended NYE and SCE services are as follows:
NYE: Week 44 eastbound from Kaohsiung
SCE: Week 43 eastbound from Xiamen
Further to that development, the G6 alliance lines will suspend their jointly-operated CC2 service covering the Asia/USWC trade from the end of October to cater for the seasonal downturn. The suspension takes out some 6,000 teu of weekly capacity from the trade.
CC2 service details:
Port coverage: Ningbo, Shangha1, Los Angeles, Ningbo
Deployment: 5 x 5,500/6,500 teu vessels
Last sailing eastbound from Shanghai on October 31
The fall in fuel prices has also resulted in some interesting developments on the Asia/US trade.
Hanjin has decided to opt for the Cape of Good Hope transit route on the eastbound rotation for its participation in the Asia/USEC all-water service known as the AWE8/AUE.
Hanjin will continue to cover the westbound route by taking the Suez transit, but eastbound will transit via the Cape in the medium term, until at least April 2015.
Evergreen and COSCO, which are also tonnage providers on the service, will continue via the Suez in both directions.
Service coverage: Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Yantian, Singapore, (Suez transit), New York, Norfolk, Savannah, (Suez transit for Evergreen/COSCO, Cape of Good Hope transit for Hanjin), Xiamen
Deployment: 11 x 7,500/8,500 teu vessels (6 x Evergreen, 3 x Hanjin, 2 x COSCO)
The Cape route alternative will not effect eastbound service transit times, and Savannah/Xiamen will remain at 37/38 days for the service. Consequently, Hanjin will increase the speed of its vessels eastbound but save on Suez transit fees by the re-routing.
By Paul Richardson
Sea Freight Correspondent | London