German container line Hapag-Lloyd plans to push ahead with further tonnage upscaling in the north/south trades, said Chief Operating Officer Anthony J Firmin on 2 June.
He told IHS Maritime in a press briefing in Hamburg that the carrier plans a major consolidation of slot capacities in the West Coast South America (WCSA) trade by 2017.
Five 10,500 teu newbuildings with 2,100 reefer plugs that Hapag recently contracted at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries for delivery from the end of 2016 will be deployed in the reefer-heavy trade between WCSA and North Europe through the expanded Panama Canal, he said.
The tonnage upgrade should boost slot-cost efficiency from today’s Panamax-class services on the route.
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“However, this doesn’t mean we will increase overall capacity on the route,” said Firmin. “Instead we are going to consolidate capacity. The enlarged service will replace three smaller services that we are running today.”
The schedule consolidation is likely to involve vessel sharing/co-loading partners, IHS Maritime understands.
Hapag-Lloyd, which significantly increased its WCSA market coverage by taking over CSAV, collaborates closely with compatriot carrier Hamburg Süd on Latin American routes.