The number of shipping lines that have decided to sail the long way back to the Far East from Europe is steadily being added to, as more shipping companies do the sums and follow the examples set by Maersk and MSC.
Latest to join the migration away from the Suez Canal route on eastbound voyages are
Grand Alliance members MISC Berhad, NYK Line, Hapag-Lloyd and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) with their EU3 service.
Reasons given for the decision are similar to those for other lines preceding them – higher costs through the canal, insurance premiums for having to sail through the Gulf of Aden, and reduced loadings in the eastbound direction. Despite sailing via the Cape, the port rotation remains at Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Port Kelang, Singapore, Shekou, Hong Kong, Ningbo and Shanghai but the journey will require an extra week to complete which also means that an additional vessel in the 8,000-TEU range is added.
Another line to opt for the Cape route eastwards is Taiwanese carrier Evergreen which operates its China Europe Med service (CEM) using eight C class ships of around 8,000-TEU and on which Maersk Line enjoys a slot allocation. To maintain service integrity Evergreen will add a ninth ship of 7,000-TEU, the HATSU SMILE but has also added the port of Taranto to the westbound route to connect with the company’s new Adriatic feeder service (ADF).