The Ocean Three lines, CMA-CGM, UASC and China Shipping, are to start deploying 10,000+ teu vessels on the Asia/Black Sea trade during the first four months of 2015. The new capacity is among the largest yet to be deployed on the increasingly important East/West searoute, which is picking up on the expanding attraction of the eastern European marketplace.
Under the new Black Sea Express (BEX) service structure, which made its first westbound sailing from Dalian on January 16, CMA-CGM will deploy the first of the 10,000+ teu vessels, the 10,662 teu CMA-CGM Loire from January 23, followed by sister vessels up until the end of April.
By the end of April, the BEX service deployment will comprise at least seven vessels in the 10,000+ teu capacity league on an eleven ship service.
BEX service port coverage will be: Dalian, Tianjin, Gwangyang, Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Chiwan, Port Kelang, Beirut, Evyap, Istanbul, Constanza, Odessa, Ilyichevsk, Istanbul, Piraeus, Port Kelang and Dalian. Operational capacity will comprise 11 x 9,000/10,600 teu vessels with at least six newly-delivered CMA-CGM vessels being in the 10,000+ teu capacity frame.
With the arrival of the Ocean Three network and the introduction of the larger vessels, the present service setup for Yangming which involves a vessel sharing agreement on the existing China Shipping/Wan Hai and Pacific International Lines (PIL) Asia/Black Sea (ABX) service will change.
Yangming is to make changes to its coverage of the Asia/Black Sea trade from mid-January, dropping its present joint service with China Shipping, Wan Hai and Pacific International Lines, and through a new deal, purchase slots on the Ocean Three Black Sea Express known as the BEX service. At present, Yangming has a vessel sharing agreement with CSCL/Wan Hai/PIL on the Asia/Black Sea Express (ABX) service, which covers Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Singapore, Port Kelang, Piraeus, Istanbul, Ilyichevsk, Constanza, Port Kelang and Shanghai. Deployment: 11 x 5,500 teu vessels.
However, starting from the first westbound sailing from Dalian on January 16, Yangming will purchase slots on the BEX service, and consequently increase coverage of the Black Sea/eastern Europe region with additional calls at Beirut and Odessa.
By Paul Richardson
Sea Freight Correspondent | London