Stage set for FE-North Europe showdown
When the ‘Daily Maersk’ offer was launched in October 2011, it was touted as an unprecedented solution for Far East-Europe shippers, with daily sailings and delivery time guarantees on that route. Although Maersk continues to maintain the program three years after its launch, the impact of the ‘Daily Maersk’ has not met the expectations envisaged by its proponents. If it was one of the unstated goals of ‘Daily Maersk’ to outstrip competitors on the FE-North Europe trade, then it clearly failed to do so. The imminent launch of the new P3 Network on this route will open up opportunities for Maersk’s partners, MSC and CMA CGM, to offer similar products.
The P3’s competitors have also lined up increased sailing frequencies through expanded alliance and slot arrangements. In combination with the upsizing of the deployed tonnage, this will allow them to approach the performance of ‘Daily Maersk’, both in terms of network coverage and in terms of unit costs.
A loose grouping composed of seven carriers in the Asia-Europe trade has also started to take shape. The five carriers of the CKYHE have concluded various slot swap agreements with CSCL and UASC that will allow the seven shipping lines involved to offer up to eight FE-North Europe sailings each week (see service updates). The only casualty appears to be Zim which will leave next week.