Arkon Shipping of Germany has teamed up with a number of compatriot firms to form Arkon Allied Container (AAC), a new chartering joint venture. The partners are the shipowners Jüngerhans, Wessels, HS Schiffahrt, Nordic and Jebsen Shipping Partners, as well as the chartering specialists Ole Gabs and Wolfgang Klodwig. The objective of AAC is to concentrate the shareholders’ container feeder vessels into one large fleet consisting of over 90 container vessels with capacities of up to 4,350 TEU. AAC officially launched its business at the beginning of August.

China Ocean Shipping Company’s (COSCO) newest ship, the Cosco Shipping Libra (above), and the world’s largest container ship at that time, departed from the Port of Singapore for Europe on 6th August on her maiden voyage. The 400m long and 22.5 knot ship has a beam of 58.6m and a maximum draught of 16m. Approximately 90% of the ship’s components were made domestically, showcasing China’s shipbuilding capacity. During the maiden voyage the ship is carrying 16,586 standard containers of goods sold to European countries. The maiden voyage began on 20th July from Tianjin in China and continued from Singapore to the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal, Piraeus, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp and back to Rotterdam once again before heading home.

Ship Show

CMA CGM commenced a new service, the LYDIA feeder, on 2nd August linking Rouen to Le Havre on a weekly basis. The service is dedicated exclusively to cargo from Rouen to West Africa and serves Le Havre with connections on the direct services EURAF 1 and EURAF 5. A steel cutting ceremony took place at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in China at the end of July for the hulls of the first two ships of CMA CGM’s order for nine 22,500 TEU capacity LNG-powered ULCVs, featuring a potentially game-changing bow design. Alongside similar ULCVs being constructed for MSC in South Korea, these new giants will be the largest containerships afloat, and the first to extend to 24 containers across the weather deck. The CMA CGM ships will also be the first constructed with a “bulbless bow”, as the container line commits its future to slow-steaming. A protruding bulb shape at the bow has been a feature of containerships for decades, but the new design could become the norm on such ships where lower unit costs have triumphed over fast transit times. The bulbous bow works by creating an artificial wave, modifying the water flow around the hull, which reduces drag and increases speed and fuel efficiency. Studies have put the fuel efficiency gain at up to 15% at near full speed. However, the advantages of a bulbous bow containership have waned with the advent of slow steaming in the past decade, causing the fuel efficiency percentage gain to drop significantly. Ships sailing lightly loaded also see little or no benefit from a bulbous bow. This has prompted the retrofitting of replacement bows, designed specifically to be more efficient at slower speeds. Each vessel measures 400m in length, 61.3m in breadth and 33.5m in depth and has a deadweight of 220,000dwt.

The 217,673gt/2018 built CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery was christened by Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Economy and Finance, with Elisabeth Borne, Transport Minister, at Le Havre on 6th September. The 400m long, 59m beam and 20,656 TEU capacity ship is named after the French pilot and writer of the famous book The Little Prince. The vessel is deployed on the FAL1 service between Asia and Northern Europe.

DP World of Dubai is to acquire the Unifeeder Group A/S, the largest Pan-European feeder and shortsea operator. The agreemNews from around the world from Maersk Tankers, Siem Shipping, Stena Bulk and moreent was signed on 7th August to acquire 100% of Unifeeder for EUR 660m from the company’s majority owner, Nordic Capital Fund VIII, and certain minority shareholders. With the acquisition, DP World expects to enhance its presence in the global supply chain and broaden its product offering with a view to ultimately reducing inefficiencies and improve the competitiveness of global trade. Purchased by Nordic Capital Fund VIII five years ago and based in Aarhus, Denmark, Unifeeder operates approximately 60 short-term chartered vessels, carrying around 3.2 million TEUs and performing some 12,000 port calls annually.

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