APL announced the launch of the Atlantic Gulf Express (AGX) Service on 16th September, a direct Trans-Atlantic service which connects the key markets of North Europe, US South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The new AGX service calls at Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Charleston, Savannah, Miami, Veracruz, Altamira, Houston and New Orleans. The first sailing commenced from Le Havre on 2nd October 2016.

CMA CGM is outsourcing some of its global feeder operations in a move that rival carriers are likely to replicate as all attempt to reduce costs. CMA CGM has reduced its 600-1,750 TEU capacity feeder ships from 171 to 133 as it transfers certain feeder services to third-party operators. The reported recent surge in available tonnage in the 1,000 to 1,250 TEU range is largely due to CMA CGM, which has redelivered 13 ships in this capacity range recently. The main beneficiaries of the outsourcing have included specialist feeder lines such as X-Press Feeders, Unifeeder, and Unimed Feeder Services, which are chartering ships to handle CMA CGM’s cargoes. CMA CGM’s change in strategy indicates a major policy shift as it has been growing its feeder fleet and acquired OPDR, a German short-sea carrier, as recently as June 2015. Feeder services have become more important with the arrival of the mega-ships that have until recently been deployed primarily on the Asia- Europe trade.

European short-sea operators of the CMA CGM group (MacAndrews & OPDR) are expanding their container capacity with 4,000 new pallet wide dry containers. The 40-foot high cube containers can hold five additional euro-pallets compared with standard 40-foot units and are also more secure. They are 11.8 inches higher than standard containers and also have a higher payload, allowing for the shipping of heavier goods. The containers are more secure than standard units because their larger dimensions allow for more precise positioning of pallets, reducing the space between them. This means there is less room for cargo to shift around the container while it is in transit. CMA CGM has amended the port rotation of the EURAF 3 and WAZZAN services which connect Europe to West Africa. As of 23rd September 2016, EURAF 3, operated with three vessels of 1,800 TEU capacity, added a weekly direct call at Banjul (Gambia) in its rotation. The 17,518gt/2007 built Cala Paguro was scheduled to depart Tangiers (Morocco) on 23rd September with an estimated time of arrival in Banjul of 8th October. The new port coverage of the EURAF 3 includes the ports of Tangiers (Morocco), Algeciras (Spain), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Conakry (Guinea), Monrovia (Liberia), Banjul (Gambia) and Tangiers. The existing Banjul call on the WAZZAN service was discontinued as from the 11,062gt/1994 built Delmas Swala’s voyage, starting her rotation in Casablanca, with an estimated departure on 25th September. In addition, a service improvement to the WAZZAN service includes a direct Southbound call at Las Palmas (Spain), effective 13th October 2016. The new port coverage of the WAZZAN service is as follows: Casablanca (Morocco), Algeciras (Spain), Tangiers (Morocco) (connection Worldwide/ECSA), Las Palmas Southbound (Spain), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Dakar (Senegal), Nouadhibou (Mauritania), Casablanca.

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