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Published: 13 February 2017      

2M announces transpacific and Asia/Europe/Asia capacity upgrades

The 2M alliance of Maersk Line and MSC is to start new services and boost slot capacity on its main liner trades out of Asia to North America and Europe.

The move reflects the group’s recent slot purchase deals with Hyundai Merchant Marine, which is leaving the G6 alliance and Hamburg-Sud. Its deal with UASC on the east-west trades is ending following its takeover by Hapag-Lloyd.

Two services are being started, with Maersk responsible for operating both. While AE7 will connect Asia with northern Europe, TP16 will offer an additional link between east/north East Asia and the Atlantic seaboard of North America.

“Our new slot agreements require that we increase our capacity,” explained Sylvia Ding, head of trade at Maersk. With these service improvements, we are adding the necessary capacity to match the increase in volumes. Our aim is and continues to be to manage our capacity efficiently and maintain the stability and continuity of our network.”

She said the AE7 would cut transit times from Shanghai to Rotterdam and Hamburg by three days while the TP16 would reduce transit times between Asia and US east coast (USEC) by a highly significant eight days.

AE7 will feature calls at Ningbo, Shanghai, Port Tanjung Pelepas, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Wilhelmshaven and Felixstowe, before returning to Ningbo. Meanwhile, TP16 will comprise a Panama Canal routing and offer direct calls at Hong Kong, Yantian, Shanghai and Busan in Asia, and Savannah, Norfolk, Charleston and Miami in the US. The two lines have not yet assigned vessels to the new services.

But the moves are not entirely driven by expansion with a reduction in capacity taking place in the alliance’s Asia/US west coast (USWC) network through the merging of Maersk’s TP3 and TP8 slings.

In all, the decision will result in 2M operating six services a week between Asia and Europe and five services a week between both Asia/USWC and Asia/USEC ports.

Interestingly, 2M has made its announcement in advance of The Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Mitsui OSK Lines, NYK Line and Yangming) and the Ocean Alliance (CMA CGM, China Cosco Shipping Co, Evergreen Line and OOCL) finalising their east-west service plans. These new groups are expected to commence their operations in early April.

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