Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that changes to Maersk's MECL services do not involve an increase in capacity.
Maersk Line has announced several upcoming service changes.
The container carrier will enhance its trade from the West Mediterranean to North America with the addition of port calls at Charleston, S.C., and Miami on the U.S. East Coast, and La Spezia, Italy.
The last round trip voyage for the current WestMed service will be the CC Jamaica, voyage 1308/1309. It will start its rotation in Marsaxlokk, Malta, on May 27, and continue its final rotation to Livorno and Genoa, Italy; Fos Sur Mer, France; Barcelona and Valencia, Spain; Tangier, Morocco; Newark, N.J.; Norfolk, Va.; Savannah, Ga.; Algeciras, Spain; and phasing out at Malta on July 7.
The new rotation will consist of a dedicated country feeder coverage linking to the MECL1 and MECL2 services in Algeciras. It will offer a 13-day transit from Genoa to Newark and an 18-day transit from Newark to Livorno.
The new rotation will be:
- Spain: Algeciras, Barcelona, Valencia and Algeciras.
- North Italy loop: Genoa, La Spezia and Algeciras.
- South Italy loop: Livorno, Salerno, Naples, Marsaxlokk and Algeciras.
- France: Algeciras, Fos Sur Mer and Algeciras.
- MECL1: Algeciras, Newark, Charleston, Savannah, Norfolk, Newark and Algeciras.
- MECL2: Algeciras, Newark, Savannah, Houston, Miami and Algeciras.
Maersk Line will merge its ME2 and ME4 services between Europe and the Middle East to form one larger service covering the West Mediterranean. The ME4 service as it exists today will close down, and the new ME2 service will add a Genoa port call, drop the transshipment port of Malta and will no longer serve India to West Mediterranean, as that will be covered on the new MECL1 service via Algeciras.
The new ME2 rotation will be: Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; Dammam and Jubail, Saudi Arabia; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Jebel Ali; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Port Said, Egypt; Port Tangiers, Morocco; Algeciras; Valencia; Barcelona; Genoa; Port Said; Jeddah; Salalah, Oman; and back to Jebel Ali.
The new service will be served with seven 6,500 20-foot-equivalent unit vessels and will phase in on May 27 in Jebel Ali, but with the current 5,500-TEU vessel, Nedlloyd Tasman. The next vessel, Maersk Semakau, of 6,500-TEU capacity, will depart from Jebel Ali on June 3.
The container carrier also will expand its ME3 service by adding six larger vessels of Panamax size with more refrigerated plugs. These upgraded vessels will phase in starting May 30 on an eastbound call at Jebel Ali.
The changes, however, will not result in capacity increases across the MECL services, and are in line with CEO Soren Skou's message at The Journal of Commerce's TPM Conference in March that Maersk would deploy vessels in the most efficient manner while not adding overall capacity. "Our MECL services remain highly reliable," a Maersk spokesman wrote in an e-mail. "We will continue to provide attractive transit times, with high reliability, and space commitments for our customers."
The ME3 port rotation will remain the same: Pipavav, Hazira and Nhava Sheva, India; Jebel Ali; Salalah; Port Said; Mersin, Ambarli and Izmit Korfezi, Turkey; Port Said; Jeddah; Jebel Ali; and back to Pipavav.
Maersk Line also will extend its CRX service to include St. Petersburg, Russia, and Kotka, Finland, to offer direct service between Central America and the Caribbean and Russia and the Baltics during the summer season. The first vessel call will be in St. Petersburg on May 21 with the Thekla Schulte, voyage 1305/1306.