Maersk Line plans to reduce capacity on its Asia-Europe services starting next month and will cut more next year to adjust to slowing demand during the slack winter season.
The Danish carrier said Tuesday it will temporarily withdraw one service from the network and expects to withdraw more capacity after the Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 3, 2011.
For now, it will suspend the AE9 service in mid-November for an unspecified period of time.
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"A few weeks ago, we said that we were ready to adjust our capacity to post-peak demand levels, and that is what we are announcing today," said Lee Sissons, director of Maersk Line's Asia-North Europe trade.
He said the carrier will adjust its other services to make up for the withdrawal of the AE9 and eliminate any disruptions.
Maersk’s move follows the Oct. 15 announcement by the Grand Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and OOCL) that it is cutting the frequency of one of its Asia-Europe services, Loop D, from weekly to biweekly through March.
The AE9 accounts for approximately 10 percent of Maersk’s Asia - Europe service network capacity.
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Maersk said it expects to remove capacity once again after Chinese New Year “in line with market demand levels.”
Maersk’s capacity adjustment is currently limited to the withdrawal of the AE9 service and does not entail any vessel lay-ups.
"At this point, we do not expect to lay up vessels or further capacity adjustments in the trade. We plan to reinstate the AE9 service as demand levels dictate, and we will remain flexible to changes in the market," Sissons said.
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