ACL has ceased to serve the Swedish Port of Gothenburg directly in its 2018 schedule after 50 years, citing increasing costs and lower productivity. Instead, Gothenburg will be served by a feeder service rather than by direct call. The new port rotation will be Liverpool-Hamburg-Antwerp-Liverpool while the North American rotation will remain as Halifax-New York-Baltimore-Norfolk-New York-Halifax. The 100,430gt/2017 built Atlantic Sun made the last call at Gothenburg on 15th January. The change adds 3.5 days to ACL’s schedule, thus restoring reliability to the service. For Ro-Ro cargo bound to/from Sweden, ACL is setting up a relay service using the Grimaldi Euromed vessel between Wallhamn and Antwerp.

APL announced on 11th December a new North Atlantic Service (NAS), expanding its offerings in the Trans-Atlantic trade. NAS promises market leading transit times as it serves the major North European markets and the U.S. East Coast. For instance, a cargo from London to New York will be delivered in 12 days while shipments on board the NAS from Le Havre to Miami will arrive in 13 days. With direct port calls in London, Dunkerque, Zeebrugge and Philadelphia, NAS further expands APL’s coverage in the Trans-Atlantic trade. The NAS commenced from London on 3rd January 2018 with the following port rotation: Zeebrugge-London-Rotterdam-Dunkerque-Le Havre-New York-Savannah-Miami-Savannah-Philadelphia-Zeebrugge. December also saw APL celebrate 150 years of shipping in Japan. From 7th January 2018 the IPM service was enhanced from Jebel Ali, calling at the ports of Jebel Ali, Hamad, Karachi, Mundra, Hazira, Nhava Sheva, Djibouti, Jeddah, Damietta, Piraeus, Malta, Aliaga, Mersin, Port Said West and Aqaba. The new ports added are Hamad and Aqaba in the Middle East and Hazira in India, plus the IPM service will serve Jebel Ali instead of Khor Fakkan.

CMA CGM Group announced on 1st December that subsidiaries MacAndrews and OPDR were to merge on 1st January in order to further strengthen its multimodal offer in Europe. CMA CGM is currently the third largest container shipping company by TEU capacity and the merger is in line with the CMA CGM Group’s strategy to develop its intra-regional activities and accelerate its development. The merger will see the Group maintain a presence in 16 countries, 36 agencies and 18 services. It will boast 595 employees, 310 at OPDR, and 285 at MacAndrews. Both subsidiaries have greatly strengthened the CMA CGM Group’s capabilities in Europe. MacAndrews is the oldest shipping company in Europe and was acquired by CMA CGM in 2002. It offers rail, land and maritime transport services to customers and is a specialist in container transport on short-sea routes as well as multimodal solutions in Europe. MacAndrews connects Great Britain, the Iberian Peninsula and Poland. OPDR was acquired by the CMA CGM Group in 2015 and is an expert in intra-European short-sea transport and logistics. OPDR mainly covers Central Europe, Spain (including the Canary Islands), Portugal and Morocco. The CMA CGM Group has assured that employment in each entity, as well as existing services, will be maintained. CMA CGM upgraded the MIDAS Loop 1 connecting South Africa with the Indian Subcontinent and Middle East Gulf as from 22nd December when the Robin Hunter’s Midas 1 port rotation incorporated a direct weekly call at Cape Town. South Africa coverage with a Durban export call should resume in May 2018, whereas the Westbound call remains unchanged. The rotation is: Cape Town-Port Elizabeth-Jebel Ali-Khor Fakkan-Mundra-Nhava Sheva-Colombo-Durban-Pointe Noire-Apapa-Tincan/Lagos-Cotonou-Tema-Cape Town. CMA CGM then announced on 26th December the resumption of the CIMEX 9 service, a third direct service between Asia and Iran to supplement the CIMEX 6 and CIMEX 8 services. The port rotation is as follows: Kaohsiung –Shanghai-Ningbo-Xiamen-Shenzhen (Da Chan Bay)-Bandar Abbas (T2)- Jebel Ali. The service had already commenced on 16th December from Kaohsiung and 19th December from Shanghai with the 54,851gt/2008 built Basht.

COSCO Shipping saw a 23% increase in cargo carried during the third quarter of 2017, loading 5.49 million TEU compared to Maersk Line’s 5.26m, thus taking the number one spot from the Danish company. COSCO is also acquiring OOCL, which carried 1.6m TEU in the same quarter, so 2018 could well see the Chinese operator maintaining first place in the rankings as Maersk Line’s acquisition of Hamburg Sud will only add around 4m TEU per annum to its quota.

Cosmoship Management of Greece has ordered four 1,500 TEU capacity containerships at Guangzhou Wenchong in China. Delivery of all four vessels is scheduled for the second half of 2019 and these will expand the fleet to 14 vessels, with capacities ranging in size from 1,000 TEU to 1,800 TEU.

Diana Containerships Inc. has, through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary, entered into a time charter contract with Wan Hai Lines (Singapore) Pte Ltd. for one of its Post-Panamax container vessels, the 71,786gt/2009 built Hamburg. The gross charter rate is $11,000 per day for a minimum period of 120 days to a maximum of 220 days. The ship was previously chartered to CMA CGM and Diana Containerships Inc.’s fleet currently consists of 11 container vessels (6 Post-Panamax and 5 Panamax).

Euroseas Ltd. an owner and operator of dry bulk and container vessels, has taken delivery of the 68,687gt/2001 built Akinada Bridge, a 5,600 TEU Post-Panamax container vessel, which the Company had previously agreed to acquire. Following delivery in January, the vessel commenced a 50-120 day charter at a gross daily rate of $11,250. Furthermore the Company has sold one of its container feeder vessels, the 23,809gt/1998 built Aggeliki P, a 2,008 TEU capacity vessel, for a gross price of around $4.6 million. Euroseas Ltd. was formed on 5th May 2005 under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to consolidate the ship owning interests of the Pittas family of Athens, Greece, which has been in the shipping business for over 140 years.

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