HMM, Evergreen withdraw transatlantic services

Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Source: American Shipper

 Two container carriers, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and Evergreen, have announced that they are ending services in the transatlantic.
    HMM, which had been chartering slots from Maersk and MSC for use in its TA2 and TA3 services, said it will discontinue those two services between North Europe and North America this summer, while Evergreen said its Transatlantic Shuttle or TAX service will be discontinued in June.
   Evergreen said its Transatlantic Shuttle or TAX service will be discontinued in June. The final voyage on the Eastbound TAX will be on the Ever Delight, scheduled for departure from Charleston on June 20. 
   Evergreen has two other continuing transatlantic services, the Trans-Atlantic Express (TAE) and Europe-Gulf of Mexico Express (EUG). It was not immediately clear if Evergreen’s partners in the Ocean Alliance — COSCO, OOCL CMA CGM and APL — will continue to operate the TAX service. The service had the following rotation: Charleston, Savannah, Miami, New York, Southampton, Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Charleston.
   Evergreen did not give a reason for ending the service.
   HMM also is planning to increase its capacity in the transpacific and exchange more space with Maersk and MSC.
   “HMM will no longer serve the transatlantic until further notice,” the Korean carrier said. “Market conditions drive HMM to concentrate our efforts to service our customers in other core trades.” 
   According to its agreement filed with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), HMM had purchased slots from MSC and Maersk for 700 TEUs per week for the two transatlantic services.
   HMM said in the westbound direction, it will accept bookings for the TA2 until the departure of the MSC Spain scheduled for June 25 from Bremerhaven and for the TA3 until the departure of the Sealand Washington scheduled for June 24 from Antwerp. 
   In the eastbound direction, it will accept bookings for the TA2 until the departure of the MSC Spain scheduled for July 13 from Norfolk and for the TA3 until the departure of the Sealand Washington scheduled for July 31 from Savannah.
   HMM, Maersk and MSC also filed a revised version of their strategic cooperation agreement with the FMC, deleting the trade between North Europe and the U.S. Atlantic Coast, but also increasing the amount of space they will exchange in the Far East-U.S. West Coast trade. 
    Previously HMM had provided 1,000 TEUs per week to each Maersk and MSC on its various services, and Maersk and MSC had each provided 1,000 TEUs to MSC. Under the revised agreement, those slots will be increased by all parties from 1,000 to 2,250 TEUs.
   HMM plans to continue to operate three services in the Far East-U.S. West Coast trade but will increase the number of vessels it employs from 19 to 22 and increase their average capacity from 6,000 TEUs to 7,500 TEUs each.
    Andy Abbott, the chief executive officer of Atlantic Container Line, a carrier that specializes in the trade between Europe and North America, said the transatlantic trade “has been in the pits for a while. There is no question that it hasn’t been in good shape.”
   He was not surprised that Asian carriers might withdraw or reduce their involvement in the transatlantic in favor of concentrating resources on services to and from their core markets in Asia.
   ACL’s ships carry a combination of both containers and roll-on, roll-off cargo.
   “Thank God we have our ro-ro. If it wasn’t for our ro-ro, most of the cargo is marginal at best. We are walking away from more cargo — you just can’t afford to carry it, it’s below variable cost, so the more you carry, the more you lose.”
   Xeneta, a market intelligence and consulting firm specializing in container freight rate information, says that westbound rates from main ports in North Europe to the U.S. East Coast dropped in the early part of the year, but recently there has been an increase for both the short- and long-term market so that rates today are rather similar to what they were last year.

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