CGM TO END US-MEDITERRANEAN RUN

CGM TO END US-MEDITERRANEAN RUN

Compagnie Generale Maritime will be discontinuing its monthly roll-on roll- off service from the East Coast to the Mediterranean at the end of June, said Jean Pierre Dutaut, owner's representative in New York for CGM.

The last sailing in the service will be that of the CGM Gauguin from the Port of Baltimore on June 26. The government-owned French shipping line also called at Charleston on that service.The decision to end the service stemmed from CGM's acquisition last week of three vessels from the Transatlantic Group of Sweden as well as its participation in a joint venture with Sofrana Unilines SA, which bought Pacific Australia Direct Line from Transatlantic.

The three ships bought from Transatlantic had been used in PAD's service

from Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Dutaut said in a recent interview here that CGM will place those vessels in its service between Europe and New Caledonia in the South Pacific.

The four existing vessels in that service had traveled through the Panama Canal and stopped in Charleston and Baltimore on the return voyage. Under the new arrangement, the vessels will sail through the Suez Canal, thus bypassing the United States.

Mr. Dutaut said the three ships acquired from Transatlantic are faster than the existing vessels and will be able to complete the round-trip voyage in 74 days. The existing ships take 105 days. As previously reported, three of them will be transferred to the trans-Pacific route, which PAD operates in conjunction with New Zealand Line under the name Australia New Zealand Direct Line.

The French shipping executive said the PAD venture will facilitate equipment interchange between CGM's various U.S. services. It will also enable CGM to take advantage of PAD's sales and distribution network in the United States, he said. PAD has 12 sales offices in this country.

Mr. Dutaut said CGM plans to keep PAD's existing management.

The vessels now calling at Baltimore and Charleston discharge nickel imported from New Caledonia. CGM will now use the intermodal connections of the Australia New Zealand Direct Line to ship that cargo from the West Coast ports that ANZDL serves to the East Coast.

Mr. Dutaut said the line had been unable to obtain significant amounts of containerized cargo for its service from the East Coast to the Mediterranean

because of its monthly frequency. Instead, it carried mainly roll-on roll-off cargo, such as earth-moving equipment. He said the line has notified its major customers on the route.

CGM currently serves the trade from Europe to the East Coast of the United States through its participation in the Atlantic Container Line consortium. It has its own service from Europe to the U.S. Gulf and participates in the Pacific Europe Express consortium from Europe to the West Coast.