Exporters and importers on the Pacific trades stand to benefit from Maersk Line’s review of its global shipping network, according to Maersk Line’s Senior Vice President, Robert Kledal.

The review of Maersk Line’s Trans-Pacific services (TP) will result in a number of improvements and the phasing out of two strings. The resulting network will provide optimum port coverage in the region, better connections to growing markets and efficient and cost effective transportation solutions to serve customers.

“Maersk Line will continue to provide competitive and second-to-none services on the Pacific trades. Our new network will allow for growth from East and North China, which are rapidly growing markets. We will continue to run our business efficiently in order to limit the impact of rising costs.

There is no doubt that the high fuel and intermodal rail costs are having an impact on the industry. While there has been talk about overcapacity, in our experience, added capacity has been absorbed by the volume growth. This puts strain on the terminals, rail networks, and trucking capacity, which are challenged to keep pace,” said Kledal.

“In 2007, the freight rates will have to increase to reflect the dramatic increase in the cost of providing the service. A part of our work is to gain efficiency and continuously improve our product to provide a competitive offering aligned with our customers needs. We will continue to develop our services in order to meet customer requirements, but we will need to ensure that this is being done with fair compensation,” he said.

Maersk Line will pursue a general rate increase of at least US$300/FEU to the US West Coast ports and US$500 to the US East Coast ports. For cargo continuing to inland destinations, the increases must be substantially higher in order to offset the dramatic intermodal cost increases of providing inland service. These increases will be determined on a case by case basis depending on the specific situations of each customer, but in each case, Maersk Line will seek full compensation for the service provided.

The restructured Pacific network will feature enhanced coverage of Thailand to the US West Coast. The TP9 service will now offer a direct Laem Chabang to Los Angeles service with an industry-leading transit time of 18 days. The TP12 service will provide faster transit times from Japan to the US West Coast, as well as better US East Coast coverage from China and Japan.

In addition, customers will continue to benefit from the wide range of features that characterize Maersk Line’s Pacific network. These include:

  • Extensive coverage of Asian and North American ports
  • Continuation of the popular TP6 service from Southeast Asia and South China to Los Angeles
  • Direct calls at Xiamen, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Yantian, and Shekou
  • Direct service from Kaohsiung to Tacoma and Los Angeles
  • Efficient feeder connections to/from South East Asia including Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia
  • Multiple all-water options to/from USEC via both the Panama and Suez Canal
  • TP3 service first US East Coast port call at Newark with Monday morning availability (followed by Norfolk)
  • Global connectivity via seamless access to Maersk Line’s worldwide network

North China is served on the TP8 service, with direct calls at all three of the major Bohai ports (Qingdao, Xingang, and Dalian) to Los Angeles and Oakland. East China is served on the TP5 service, calling both Shanghai and Ningbo to the same locations in California.

As a consequence of the review, we will phase out the TP10 and TP14 services from China and Japan to the west coast of the U.S as the peak season is ending. The TP10 and TP14 nominal capacity is approximately 10% of our total trans-Pacific capacity.