A greater measure of fixed-schedule stability on the South China-U.S. East Coast trade lane was announced today by carriers comprising the Grand Alliance.
‘While we are not introducing any additional capacity, the move demonstrates that the carriers are keeping faith with shippers in this trade lane,’ said a spokesman for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK).
Other members of the Alliance are Hapag-Lloyd; Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) and Zim Integrated Shipping Services. Together, they have agreed to cooperate on the service using the Panama Canal.
Logistics Management reports that pending approval from the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the joint operation is expected to take effect in April.
Zim, which has been a prominent player in the All Water East Coast trade since 1973, is adding a transloading stop in Jamaica.
New port rotation of the South China East Coast Express (SCE) service is Kaohsiung – Shekou – Hong Kong – Kingston – New York – Norfolk – Savannah – Kaohsiung on a 56 day round trip.
The new service comprises eight vessels of 4,200 twenty-equivalent units (TEUs). Grand Alliance will provide five vessels and Zim will provide three vessels.
As reported in Logistics Management, many maritime analysts are suggesting that capacity is being drawn away from the depressed transpacific and moved to serve other areas, other trades. But NYK spokesmen said this announcement did not reflect that trend. Its explanation was that APL, a member of the New World Alliance, had pulled out capacity from this service late last year, thereby leaving something of a void.
The Grand Alliance, formed in 1998, is the leading integrated consortium in global container shipping. Its members are Hapag-Lloyd (Germany), MISC Berhad (Malaysia), NYK (Japan) and OOCL (Hong Kong). MISC Berhad does not operate on this trade and therefore has not participated in this particular agreement.