APL Ltd. said it plans to scrap four 1980s-built U.S.-flag container ships that are seeing reduced demand for military shipments as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wind down.
The C-10s President Adams, President Jackson, President Polk and President Truman were among the initial class of post-Panamax container ships. Each has nominal capacity of 4,300 20-foot-equivalent units.
“They were innovative and state-of-the-art technology when they were built. They were wonderful ships that served APL well for many years,” said Eric Mensing, APL’s senior vice president,of government trade and CEO of the company’s Washington-based U.S.-flag unit, APL Maritime.
APL will take the four ships out of service in June and July, Mensing said. The vessels have been used primarily for military shipments.
With the ships’ scrapping will come a reconfiguring of the G-6 alliance’s AEX service connecting the U.S. East Coast with the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Singapore. APL will operate five U.S.-flag ships along with five non-U.S.-flag vessels provided by other G-6 carriers on the AEX service.
APL’s U.S.-flag fleet also includes five C-11 ships, each with capacity of 4,832 TEUs, that operate in the Pacific. Those vessels and their services won’t be affected by the scrapping of the four C-10s.
APL will continue to operate nine ships — five in the Pacific and four in the AEX service — under the Maritime Security Program, which subsidizes U.S.-flag operation. The Presidents Adams, Jackson, Polk and Truman operated under the MSP until they reached the program’s 25-year age limit.
Mensing said APL retains ample U.S.-flag capacity to handle retrograde military shipments from Afghanistan and Iraq. “We will handle all of this wonderful customer’s needs,” he said. “APL remains 100 percent committed to the U.S. flag. It’s part of our heritage.”