The shipping companies China Ocean Shipping Co (Cosco), K Line, Yangming and Hanjin/Senator are considering merging some of their Atlantic services in a bid to cut capacity, particularly on the US east coast service. A company official at Cosco, the leading carrier on the Asia/US/Europe routes with seven of the 12 ships deployed, said that the trans-Atlantic trade was a big loss-maker. Merging services would effectively reduce capacity by 2,500 teu each week.
The lines last year reduced capacity by agreeing to share Atlantic slots with other shippers. They also operate a series of vesseland slot-sharing agreements on other major trade lanes, including the trans-Pacific and Asia/Europe services.
In a related move, Cosco is to offer slots to Hanjin on its own China/Europe service, which has been upgraded with eight 5,500 teu ships replacing nine 3,800 teu vessels. The development will give Hanjin extra coverage of ports such as Dalian, Qingdao, Tianjin, Shanghai and Xiamen, allowing it to serve China's booming export trade to Europe.