Maersk Line is to re-route its Asia Europe 7 (AE7) service around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope on the eastbound leg through late January and February, saving on fuel and Suez Canal transit costs, according to a report by PR News Service.
The AE7 service, which operates with eight vessels of around 11,000 TEUs each, backed up by an extra vessel of around 8,500 TEUs, will make the last Europe/Mediterranean call eastbound at Algeciras then head south around the Cape, a move that adds between five and seven days on eastbound transit times to Asia.
The vessels deployed on the AE7 are too large to make direct calls at ports in southern Africa, so the big savings will come from slow steaming and the Suez transit costs of about $600,000 (Dh2.2m) per voyage for an 11,000-TEU vessel based on a full cargo of loaded containers.
The present port rotation of the AE7 is Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, Algeciras, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Zeebrugge, Algeciras, Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong, Yantian, and back to Shanghai. For six consecutive eastbound voyages starting with the departure of Elly Maersk from Algeciras on January 22, direct calls at Tanjung Pelepas, Hong Kong and Yantian will be skipped, and the vessels will proceed direct to Shanghai.
The AE7 transit time will climb to 32 days from 25 days from Algeciras to Shanghai. Other lines are understood to be considering similar moves, PR News Service reported.