Maersk Line says it will merge its ICON service linking the Far East and Indian sub-continent to Northern Europe into its recently launched Asia-Europe “Maersk Daily” network.
Maersk said the move, taking effect in early February after the Chinese New Year, will “help in efforts to establish a more balanced supply-demand scenario within the Far East to North Europe trade.”
The changes to the ICON service, which deploys seven Panamax container ships, will not have any impact on the Daily Maersk service, including transportation times, the Danish carrier said.
The enhanced ICON service will include a dedicated feeder link between Chittagong and Tanjung Pelas, providing access to the network Maersk is promoting as an inventory pipeline between Asia and Europe.
Maersk’s AE7 Asia-Europe service will make a direct call in Colombo westbound, improving the transit time from the Sri Lankan port to North Europe by two to three days. There will be a weekly Chennai feeder via Colombo, which will also improve delivery times.
The announcement comes as spot rates on Asia-Europe are in steep decline. The most recent SCFI Shanghai Containerized Freight Index for the trade lane was down 5.4 percent for the week to $511, nearly a third the SCFI level for trade from Asia to the U.S. West Coast.