Maersk Line unveiled plans Thursday to deploy 11 vessels of 8,500 TEU on a rerouted service that will make use of the newly expanded Panama Canal. Maersk Line is one of the Panama Canal’s biggest customers, and with the opening of the Canal’s expansion last month the company said it was ‘likely’ to add capacity and reroute larger vessels to make use of the new locks.
The deployments were announced as part of a series of service changes, including one that will transform its TP12 service into a standalone, around-the-world service that Maersk says will provide significantly faster transit times between Far East Asia and the US East Coast.
From the Far East to the US East Coast, the TP12 service will transit the new Panama Canal locks and call the ports of Newark, Norfolk and Baltimore. On the return leg to Asia, the TP12 will go through the Suez Canal and call the ports of Salalah (Oman), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Singapore. The company says the change will significantly improve Maersk Line’s product offering to shippers on the Far East Asia and the US East Coast trade.
“We are changing our TP12 service to provide a better product to shippers in Korea, Northern and Eastern China. By transiting the expanded Panama Canal, we will significantly reduce transit times into key ports on the US East Coast. At the same time, we will reduce our CO2 and exhaust gas emissions due to the shorter distance,” says Klaus Rud Sejling, Head of East – West Network, Maersk Line.
Maersk Line also announced improvements to other services, such as adding Busan, South Korea to the Westbound TP10 service, which it says will significantly improve transit times from Charleston and Savannah on the US East Coast to Busan and North China.
Maersk Line will also connect its TP11 and TP8 services to form a pendulum service that expands the coverage of both services. The TP18 service will remain unchanged, the company said.
There will be no changes to the capacity in Maersk Line’s Asia – US East Coast network. Maersk Line will deploy 11 vessels of 8,500 TEU in the new TP12 service and 17 vessels of 8,500 TEU in the new TP11/TP8 pendulum service.
The changes will take place during September 2016.