Kicking the can down the line

Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd have announced a slot purchase agreement for Hamburg Süd’s volumes on the east-west trades to be shipped on vessels in the 2M network. Due to changes in the global liner alliances, the agreement follows commercial negotiations in anticipation of the termination of Hamburg Süd’s current slot purchase arrangements on the East-West trades.

The agreement is scheduled to begin April 1, subject to maritime filing requirements being satisfied. It covers the Asia-North Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, transatlantic, and transpacific trades. Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd are party to a number of such operational agreements worldwide.

One of Hamburg Süd vessels.

One of Hamburg Süd vessels.

The slot purchase agreement is not related to the announcement in December of Maersk Line’s acquisition of Hamburg Süd.

“Accommodating these additional volumes enables improved utilization in our fleet and in turn provides opportunities to enhance our customer offering on select trades in our East-West network”, says Søren Toft, chief operating officer of Maersk Line.

“Our customers will benefit from extended port coverage, best transit times, and an increased number of loops in the east–west trades,” said Frank Smet, Member of the Executive Board of Hamburg Süd.

Maersk Line is in the process of acquiring Hamburg Süd, which is owned by Oekter Group, a European family-run investments company. Hamburg Süd is the world’s seventh largest container shipping line and a leader in the north-south trading lanes. The company operates 130 container vessels with a container capacity of 625,000 TEU. With the acquisition, Maersk Line will have container capacity of around 3.8 million TEU and an 18.6-percent global capacity share. The combined fleet will consist of 741 container vessels with an average age of 8.7 years.

The acquisition marks a historic change for Maersk, which in the past eschewed acquisitions in favor of organic growth.

Despite negotiations, Hamburg Süd is offering its customers a new service profile for the SAWC Service between South America West Coast, Central America, the Caribbean, and North Europe. The weekly connection offers various highlights. For example, competitive transit times with improved lead time from South America into London, and a very competitive transit time into Rotterdam with 25 days from Valparaíso.

From Europe, customers benefit, for example, from a direct service to the main South American west coast markets and to Hamburg Süd’s main transshipment hubs of Cartagena, Caucedo, and Buenaventura.

“Hamburg Süd stands for quality, customer proximity, and tailor-made logistics solutions. As a premium carrier for reefer shipments, we are constantly improving our services and have invested around 350 million US dollars in our reefer container fleet in the past three years, making it one of the youngest in the market. “Additionally, in the course of 2017, we will begin replacing existing tonnage with high reefer capacity newbuilds. These will be deployed for the EMCS Service between Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean, thereby significantly increasing the number of reefer plugs in this service. This will enable us to respond even better and more flexibly to the specific demands of our customers in the region,” explained Peter Frederiksen, a member of the Executive Board of Hamburg Süd.

Hamburg Süd has a roughly 50-strong, worldwide Global Reefer Competence Team working on developing state-of-the-art solutions for the shipment of fresh fruit and vegetables and on providing in-depth advice to customers on all questions surrounding reefer transportation.

Current service innovations for reefer shipments at a glance:

  • Kiwifruit for Asia: Between March and the end of July 2017, the ASPA 1 Service (South America West Coast – Asia) is additionally calling at the Port of Tauranga in New Zealand, reflecting the heightened demand of the Asian markets for New Zealand kiwifruit.
  • Melons for America: Since December 2016, up until the end of April 2017, the WAMS Service (North America West Coast – Mexico/Guatemala/ Panama/Ecuador) has been additionally calling at San Lorenzo in Honduras, from where melons are exported to the USA.
  • Express cherries for China: Between November 2016 and January 2017, transit times for the ASPA 1 Service were reduced. This made it possible to ship cherries from Chile to Hong Kong within 22 days and to Shanghai in 25 days – in time for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Hamburg Sud has also entered into a slot purchase agreement with Maersk Line to give it access to the east-west trades with cargoes to be shipped on vessels in the 2M network.

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