Ocean Alliance Breaking Out With Major Ultra-Large Vessel Investments
The Ocean Alliance is embarking on a strategy that diverges from its rivals with major investments in ultra-large containerships (ULCV). The group’s ULCV capacity is expected to grow by 60 percent in 2018, according to a report from SeaIntel. The move is also likely to shake up the alliance’s network.
By contrast, Ocean’s competitors–the 2M and THE Alliances–are pursuing strategies of stable development, using ULCVs to augment existing services.
According to SeaIntel, the members of the Ocean Alliance—Cosco, CMA CGM, Evergreen and OOCL—will see their fleets undergo radical change. That means that “if they wish to optimize their changing fleet portfolio,” the carriers “need to rethink the fundamental structure of their current network.”
The alliance recently unveiled its 2018 service offerings. The schedule showed Ocean Alliance offerings going from the current 41 east-west services with 331 ships and 3.35 million TEU to 42 services with 340 vessels and 3.6 million TEU.
The Ocean Alliance collectively will still have the largest number of transpacific services, with 20 between Asia and the west and east coasts of North America, including nine to Southern California ports, four to the Pacific northwest, and seven to the US east coast.
The group will also operate six Asia-North Europe services, five Asia-Mediterranean services, five Asia-Middle East, two Asia-Red Sea, and four transatlantic services.
The transatlantic TAE2 is the new service, which, the alliance says, will offer improved transit times on a port rotation of Southampton – Le Havre – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Bremerhaven – Charleston – Savannah – Miami – New York – Southampton.
But SeaIntel expects some serious changes to Ocean services with the influx of the new ULCVs. “We will see Ocean Alliance potentially change the network more drastically,” said the report, “offering new products and network structures, driven by the rapid delivery of large vessels.”
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