Halifax port call added to G6 Asia-US service

Halifax port call added to G6 Asia-US service

The Port of Halifax hgas been included in the G6 Alliance's AZX service via Suez.

HONG KONG — The G6 Alliance has added the Canadian port of Halifax to its Asia-U.S. East Coast service, citing market demand as the container shipping industry limps closer to the traditional peak season period.

The AZX (Asia Suez Express) service will be upgraded to include an additional Halifax call, a move expected to improve transit times from Canada to Asian and Mediterranean ports as well as from Asian and Mediterranean ports to New York, the alliance members said in a statement.

When implemented on July 6, the port rotation will be Laem Chabang, Singapore, Colombo, Damietta, Cagliari, Halifax, New York, Savannah, Norfolk, Halifax, Cagliari, Damietta, Jebel Ali, Singapore, Laem Chabang.

G6 Alliance members are: APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, NYK and OOCL.

The G6 has been adjusting services in a global reshuffle. It revised two trans-Pacific routes by adding eastbound calls at Pusan, South Korea, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, while adding two China port calls to its Asia-North Europe services in a bid to secure additional cargo loads on the trade during the much hoped for peak season.

That followed an announcement that the G6 would be extending one of its Asia-Europe routes to include the Baltic Sea port of Gdansk, Poland, and has revised a separate loop to include a stop at Port Said, Egypt.

The additional calls come even as the two alliances of 2M and Ocean Three plan to withdraw capacity just as the peak shipping season traditionally gets under way. While no one is making any predictions of how long the peak season will last and the level of demand, the timing of the capacity withdrawal suggests there is little expectation from the carriers that demand will drive up volumes.

Maersk Line and MSC’s 2M will downsize the 9,500 TEU tonnage deployed on its Condor/AE9 loop that calls at Barcelona and Tanger Med en route to North Europe, and the substituted 6,500-TEU ships will skip the Mediterranean ports. Ocean Three members CMA CGM, UASC and CSCL have cancelled the MEX1 sailing (9,000-TEU vessels covering the West Mediterranean) in both weeks 28 and 31, while BEX (9,500 units serving Beirut, Turkey and the Black Sea) has been withdrawn in week 30.

Drewry estimates the actions taken by the two alliances will strip out about 7.5 percent surplus capacity in July, and one might assume that Ocean Three may be considering applying the same measures in August and September if demand so dictates.

Contact Greg Knowler at greg.knowler@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @greg_knowler.