Maersk and MSC to suspend AE2 Asia-North Europe loop for the second time

Alliance partners Maersk and MSC are to “temporarily suspend” their AE2/Swan Asia-North Europe loop from the end of the month until mid-November, removing up to 20,000 teu a week from the trade.

Weakening demand and plummeting freight rates have so far obliged Asia-North Europe carriers to blank two-thirds more sailings than during the same period of last year, and now the 2M alliance is to suspend the loop for the second consecutive year.

Moreover, Maersk said it would also “balance its network to match reduced market demand for the upcoming [Chinese factory shutdown] Golden Week” and withdraw its AE7, MSC’s Condor, headhaul string in week 41, thus removing around another 17,000 teu of capacity from the market that week.

MSC said the AE2/Swan suspension would “help us to match capacity with the expected weaker demand for shipping services”, and in a customer advisory, Maersk said the  service would resume “in line with demand pickup”, suggesting that the suspension could be extended if demand on the route continued to be soft.

The 2M adopted a similar strategy last year, suspending the AE2/Swan from September to December, rather than using the blanked voyage tool favoured by the Ocean and THE alliances. It  said mothballing loops was “a better option for shippers”.

However last year rival carriers took commercial advantage of the service suspension. Indeed, one rival carrier source told The Loadstar the 2M suspension was the “best news we have had in a long time”.

This year, according to Alphaliner data, a total of 42 Asia-North Europe headhaul sailings were blanked in the first three quarters, compared with just 16  in the first nine months of 2018.

Also, at the end of last month, HMM terminated its AEX service, which it operated separately to its slot charter arrangement with the 2M. This removed some 4,800 teu of weekly capacity from the trade, albeit that the South Korean carrier replaced its ‘independent’ service with a slot charter deal with THE Alliance ahead of it joining the vessel sharing group as a full member in April next year.

Until now, the 2M partners have not voided any sailings, despite the peak season proving to be a damp squib and spot rates having slumped to $757 per teu as of last week, according to the reading of the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) – a startling 19% below the level of a year ago and an alarming 24% drop from early January.

The planned six-week suspension of the AE2/Swan loop will see 12 17,800-20,500 teu vessels idled.

Source: The Loadstar

maersk halifax

Maersk Honam rebuilt and renamed after fire

Seventeen months after a devastating fire which resulted in the loss of 5 lives, Maersk is set to send the 15,282 teu boxship Maersk Honam back on active duty.

The owner decided to reuse the stern section in a new ship, to be constructed at a South Korean shipyard. The damaged bow section and the accommodations block were removed at Dubai Drydocks for scrapping. The stern section was taken from Jebel Ali to Geoje aboard a semi-submersible ship.

She retains the same IMO number, but she now carries a new name – Maersk Halifax

Source: Splash 247 / Maritime Executive

lng gas

Carriers turning to scrubbers to comply with IMO 2020

Around 16% of the ocean carrier global fleet – equating to 36% in terms of teu capacity – will be equipped with exhaust gas cleaning scrubber systems to comply with the IMO 2020 0.5% sulphur cap.

Ships with approved scrubber systems installed will be allowed to continue to burn heavy fuel oil (HFO) after 1 January next year, but other vessels will need to bunker with low-sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), which is expected to carry a premium of around $200 per tonne.

And with ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) consuming upwards of 100 tonnes a day at sea, the cost savings for a voyage with scrubber-fitted ship are likely to be substantial.

The consultant estimates that, according to a survey, more than 840 containerships are set to be equipped with scrubbers, for a total capacity of 8.09m teu, which includes 590 planned retrofits.

It said: “With the cost of scrubbers falling rapidly, to just $3-$5m a unit compared with $5-$8m a year ago, the scrubber option has become more attractive for owners.”

It noted that several carriers, including Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd, which had initially expressed doubts over the use of scrubbers, had “changed their minds”.

However, carriers that expressed scepticism or simply sat on the fence seem to have lost the cost-saving initiative to rivals that were in the scrubber camp from the moment the IMO approved the low-sulphur regulations in late 2016.

Famously, MSC’s chief executive called its strategy to install scrubbers on many of the ships in its fleet as a “no brainer”, whereas Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd’s executives argued that the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems was “not the long-term answer”.

Of the 12 top-ranked carriers, Alphaliner said, MSC had the “most extensive scrubber programme”, with more than 200 ships expected to have systems installed. Second is Taiwanese carrier Evergreen, with a retrofit and newbuild scrubber programme for around 140 vessels.

CMA CGM has “already committed” to 80 scrubber units, said the consultant, a number that is expected to climb to over 100 units by 2021.

Elsewhere, ambitious South Korean carrier HMM plans to have over half of its fleet of more than 50 ships equipped with scrubbers, and has made its strategy for IMO 2020 compliance a key part of its planned recovery from heavy loss-making.

Meanwhile, Maersk has said that it would install scrubbers on around 10% of its ships, and has allocated $263m for its owned fleet. It will supplement this with an unspecified number of chartered vessels fitted with scrubbers.

Carriers will need to begin bunkering ships not fitted with scrubber systems with LSFO in the final quarter of the year, in order to be compliant with the new IMO regulations.

Source: Alphaliner / The Loadstar

maersk

MSC, CMA CGM Present Plans for Fuel Surcharges

Following the footsteps of Maersk Line, the Swiss and French container shipping giants MSC and CMA CGM have unveiled their intention to introduce a new fuel adjustment surcharge ahead of the 2020 sulphur cap.

Mediterranean Shipping Company plans to introduce a new Global Fuel Surcharge as of January 1, 2019. The company expects its operating costs to increase significantly in preparation for the 2020 low-sulphur fuel regime.

MSC said that the cost of the various changes to the fleet and its fuel supply is in excess of USD 2 billion per year, the same as with Maersk Line.

“The new MSC Global Fuel Surcharge will replace existing bunker surcharge mechanisms and will reflect a combination of fuel prices at bunkering ports around the world and specific line costs such as transit times, fuel efficiency and other trade-related factors.”

Separately, CMA CGM informed that it decided to favor the use of 0.5% fuel oil for its fleet, and to invest significantly by using LNG to power some of its future container ships, and by ordering several scrubbers for its ships.

The company said that all these measures represent a major additional cost estimated, based on current conditions, at an average of 160 USD / TEU. The additional cost will be taken into account through the application or adjustment of fuel surcharges on a trade-by-trade basis, CMA CGM explained.

“The implementation of this new regulation, which represents a major environmental advance for our sector, will affect all players in the shipping industry. In line with its commitments, the group will comply with the regulation issued by the IMO as from 1 January 2020. In this context, we will inevitably have to review our sales policy regarding fuel surcharges,” Mathieu Friedberg, Senior Vice President Commercial Agencies Network, said.

The new International Maritime Organization (IMO) Low Sulphur Regulation will be effective from 1 January 2020 and will require all shipping companies to reduce their sulphur emissions by 85%.

Sulphur content in the fuel used for international shipping will have to be limited globally to 0.5%, compared with the current standard of 3.5%, in order to minimize the emissions.

However, Shippers have joined forwarders in condemning Maersk’s plan, pointing out that as the charge is per box, those shipping west with higher charges will end up paying for more collectively than they need to, to compensate for empties returning east. As  a result, the most profitable routes will enjoy higher-than-average surcharges.

In addition, Maersk is introducing the scheme a year before the higher fuel prices come in.

“Asking customers to contribute to new environmental costs is to be expected, but this charge lacks transparency; no data is available to let customers work out how the charge has been calculated,” said James Hookham, secretary general  of the Global Shippers’ Forum.

“Given historical experiences with surcharges, shippers are naturally suspicious over something shipping lines say is ‘fair, transparent and clear’.

“GSF will be taking this piece of financial engineering apart piece by piece, as we suspect this has more to do with rate restoration than environmental conservation.”

He added that Maersk could have chosen to fit scrubbers on all its ships, triggering a one-off expense, as some of its rivals are doing.

“For shippers, this is a better option than paying sulphur surcharges indefinitely.”

But he added that the unilateral manner in which Maersk introduced the change had also upset its customers.

“What also disappoints shippers is the lack of negotiation about the timing and the structure of the charge. It would have been better if Maersk had discussed its plans with individual customers in the course of confidential contract reviews, rather than just publishing something that wouldn’t be out of place in the puzzles section of your daily newspaper.

“We suspect that other shipping lines will be tempted to follow suit, but it would surely be of concern to competition authorities around the world if the same formula were to be used by other shipping lines, especially in the same Alliance.

“GSF would encourage Maersk to consult with customers and reconsider the strategy. These new charges may be all about low-sulphur fuel, but they still stink to us!”

Last week forwarders also revealed their anger over the “very major increases”.

“Rises of this magnitude are unjustified, and could be construed as blatant profiteering by shipping lines determined to exploit the situation,” said BIFA director general Robert Keen.

Source: The Loadstar / World Maritime News

wind propulsion

Wind propulsion technology testing begins

Norsepower, together with project partners Maersk Tankers, Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and Shell Shipping & Maritime, today announced the installation of two Norsepower Rotor Sails onboard Maersk Pelican, a Maersk Tankers Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker vessel.

The Rotor Sails are large, cylindrical mechanical sails that spin to create a pressure differential – called the Magnus effect – that propels the vessel forward. The Rotor Sails will provide auxiliary wind propulsion to the vessel, optimising fuel efficiency by reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions by an expected 7-10% on typical global shipping routes.

The Rotor Sails are the world’s largest at 30 metres tall by five metres in diameter and were installed on the product tanker vessel in the port of Rotterdam. The first voyage with the Rotor Sails installed will commence shortly.

“This project is breaking ground in the product tanker industry. While the industry has gone through decades of technological development, the use of wind propulsion technology onboard a product tanker vessel could take us to a new playing field. This new technology has the potential to help the industry be more cost-competitive as it moves cargoes around the world for customers and to reduce the environmental impact,” said Tommy Thomassen, Chief Technical Officer, Maersk Tankers.

The Rotor Sails have completed rigorous land testing, including thorough testing of various mechanical and performance criteria, and is the first Rotor Sails to be Class approved for use on a product tanker vessel. Extensive measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of the Rotor Sails will now take place to test the long-term financial and technical viability of the technology. Independent experts from Lloyd’s Register’s (LR’s) Ship Performance team will acquire and analyse the performance data during the test phase to ensure an impartial assessment before technical and operational insights as well as performance studies are published.

Andrew Scott, Programme Manager HDV marine and offshore renewable energy, ETI explained: “We commissioned this project to provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate the untapped potential of Rotor Sails. Auxiliary wind propulsion is one of the few fuel-saving technologies that is expected to offer double-digit percentage improvements. The technology is projected to be particularly suitable for tankers and dry bulk carriers, and this test will assist in determining the further potential for Rotor Sails in the product tanker industry.”

Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower, added: “We have great ambitions for our technology and its role in decarbonising the shipping industry. The installation of our largest ever Rotor Sails in partnership with these industry leading organisations shows that there is an appetite to apply new technologies.

“With this installation on the Maersk Pelican, there are now three vessels in daily commercial operation using Norsepower’s Rotor Sails. Each of these cases represents a very different vessel type and operational profile, demonstrating the widespread opportunity to harness the wind through Flettner rotors across the maritime industry.”

Dr Grahaeme Henderson, Vice-President, Shell Shipping & Maritime, concluded: “The shipping industry faces a major challenge in how it can economically ship the increasing amounts of goods and energy the world demands, whilst lowering its environmental impact. We see significant advantages in embracing, testing and driving innovative technologies that we believe show real promise in helping the shipping industry meet this challenge.”

Norsepower’s Rotor Sail solution is the first data-verified and commercially operational auxiliary wind propulsion technology available for the global maritime industry. When wind conditions are favourable the main engines can be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions, while maintaining speed and voyage time. Each Norsepower Rotor Sail is made using lightweight composite sandwich materials, which ensure the Rotor Sail remains well-balanced and offers a hi-tech, low maintenance solution.

To view a video of the installation please go here

Source: Maersk Tankers

maersk

Fire on the Maersk Honam contained

On Tuesday 6 March 2018 at 15:20 GMT, the Maersk liner vessel Maersk Honam reported a serious fire in a cargo hold. 

Enroute from Singapore towards Suez, the vessel was positioned around 900 nautical miles southeast of Salalah, Oman.

After being unsuccessful in their firefighting efforts, the crew sent out a distress signal and a total of 23 crew members were safely evacuated to the nearby vessel ALS Ceres, which arrived at the scene around 18:30 GMT.

Regrettably, four crew members were missing.

Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Executive Board, A.P. Moller – Maersk said:

“We’ve received the news of Maersk Honam and the four missing crew members with the deepest regret and are now doing our outmost to continue the ongoing search and rescue operations. This by rerouting our own vessels, with assistance of vessels in the area – most notably ALS Ceres that thankfully acted promptly upon our distress call – and the local authorities,”

The container vessels MSC Lauren, Edith Mærsk and Gerd Mærsk, all enroute in the Arabian Sea, diverted their routes and were expected to arrive in the early morning of Wednesday 7 March local time.

Maersk Line informed the relatives of all crew members and acknowledged that this is a very difficult time for them.

“The evacuated crew is obviously distressed, with two crew members currently receiving medical first aid onboard the ALS Ceres. We will offer crisis counselling for the seafarers signing-off and returning to their families and our thoughts and deepest empathy go out to the families of the crew members that are still unaccounted for. We will offer them all the support we can in this very difficult situation,” says Søren Toft.

The fire was brought under control over the weekend according to the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) some five days after the fatal blaze broke out.

“A thick plume of toxic fumes have now been replaced by white smoke which is a sign of cooling down of metal fire onboard the mega containership,” ICG western region deputy commandant Avinandan Mitra, was quoted as saying.

While the fire is reported to have been brought under control fully extinguishing container fires can be a lengthy process due to the extremely high temperatures generated inside the boxes, with a danger that fire may erupt again.

The ICG has classified the blaze as a “chemical fire”. This raises questions of dangerous cargoes being carried on containerships.

Three out of the four missing crewmen have been confirmed to have perished in the fire and the search for the final unaccounted for member has now been called off.  One other had already been confirmed dead.

Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft this morning said that ‘Given the time passed and the severe fire damages of the vessel we must conclude by now that we have lost all four colleagues who have been missing since the fire onboard Maersk Honam which began on 6 March. All four families of our deceased colleagues have been informed”.

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to families of our deceased colleagues. We share their sorrow and do our outmost to support them in this devastating time,” says Chief Operating Officer, Søren Toft.

A thorough search on board the Maersk Honam continues. However, the active search and rescue mission at sea will be brought to a halt. The search and rescue operation began immediately after Maersk Honam had sent out a distress signal on 6 March due to a serious fire aboard. Several container vessels diverted their route to assist in the search and rescue operation”.

22 crew managed to escape the burning ship, although two are reported to be in a critical condition.

The nationalities of the 27 crew members are: India (13), the Phillipines (9), Romania (1), South Africa (1), Thailand (2) and the United Kingdom (1).

The vessel was carrying 7860 containers. Maersk Line have vowed to investigate the matter thoroughly in cooperation with all relevant authorities.

Maersk Honam was built in 2017, has a nominal capacity of 15262 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), and sails under Singapore flag.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News / Maerskline.com

Southampton welcomes its largest container ship

Wednesday 8th November marked the maiden arrival of the Milan Maersk, the largest container ship to visit Southampton.

The Milan Maersk, which is 399m long, 58.6m wide, and can carry 20568 20′ containers, weighs a staggering 214,000 tonnes and is less than a metre shorter than the world’s longest vessel.

The vessel departed Shanghai on October 1, less than a fortnight after entering service, and called into Ningbo, Hong Kong and Yantian in China before arriving in Colombo, Sri Lanka on October 17. It then passed through the Suez Canal before stopping in Felixtowe on November 2 and across the North Sea to Rotterdam.  From Rotterdam, the ship made her way to Southampton, where it headed back to sea in the early hours of this Thursday morning towards Bremerhaven and Rotterdam before heading back to Suez and the Far East.

Milan Maersk is a new Triple-E class container ship. The Triple-E class is among the largest and most efficient fleet of container vessels in the world. In 2016 the largest container vessel calling in Southampton had a capacity for 16,000 containers. And this year we have so far welcomed MOL Triumph and MOL Trust with a capacity for 20,170 containers. Milan Maersk is one of the largest vessels of her type in the world with a capacity for 20,568 containers – that’s nearly 400 containers more than MOL Triumph.

The megaship belongs to the second generation of Maersk Line’s Triple-E class (Economy of scale, Energy efficient and Environmentally improved) and is part of a series of eleven container ships, which will be delivered by the end of 2018.

Milan Maersk’s propulsion and software system creates energy savings which aims to reduce carbon emissions per container vessel by 35 percent.

ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch said: ‘Milan Maersk is just the latest of these new mega ships to visit the Port of Southampton. Not only are these vessels bigger, they are much cleaner too and we are seeing more of these new generation of ships visiting across the port’s key trades. The Port of Southampton is ideally suited to welcome these megaships.’

To view a video of the arrival please click here

Source: Daily Echo

Images are courtesy of Solent Photographer Andrew Sassoli Walker