The AE-1 and AE-8 Far East services have been running since March 2008. They use a fleet of 18 containerships between them, with a slot space capacity of between 8,200 and 8,650 TEU. After each round trip, the ships of the AE-1 and AE-8 services change over to the other circuit. Hamburg is now included for the first time as a port of call for the AE-8 service. The AE-1 was putting in at Hamburg already. With the loading and unloading of the first AE-8 ship in Hamburg, the Maersk Sarnia, Europe’s most significant seaport for shipping to the Far East and China is now also a port of call for this important service. To mark the occasion of the first arrival in Hamburg of the AE-8, Captain Fritz-Wilhelm Jensen of the Hamburg Port Authority and Bengt van Beuningen of Port of Hamburg Marketing handed over to the captain of the Maersk Sarnia Kevin C. Riddick, together with Dennis Kuhlmann and Patrick Schwarz of the Maersk Shipping Line, the Admiralty Coat of Arms of the Port of Hamburg.

Built at the shipyard of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) in Kure, Japan, the container giant of the Danish shipping company is 335.50 meters long and 42.8 meters wide and has a slot space capacity of 8,466 TEU, plus 700 connections for reefer containers. With its full load of 97,517 tons, the ship reaches a maximum draft of 14 meters and a speed of 24.5 knots.

The ports served by the two services are as follows:

AE-1: Kobe (Osaka), Nagoya, Shimizu, Yokohama (Tokyo), Xiamen, Yantian (Shenzhen), Nansha (Guangzhou), Tanjung Pelepas, Rotterdam, Southampton, Hamburg, Malaga, Shekou (Shenzhen) ’ then switching to the AE-8 circuit.

AE-8: Shekou (Shenzhen), Shanghai, Ningbo, Kaohsiung, Yantian (Shenzhen), Tanjung Pelepas, Valencia, Le Havre, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Arhus, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Singapore ’ then switching to the AE-1 circuit.

Container shipments between Hamburg and Asia amounted to a total volume of 5.6 million containers (TEU) in 2007. The first seven months of the present year again show growth of the order of 2.7 percent. Far and away the most important trading partner of the Elbe port is VR China, with 3.2 million containers (TEU). Altogether the Port of Hamburg is now visited by 30 regular container services going to and from the Far East ’ 26 of these put in at Chinese ports.