CMA CGM Postpones Megaships to the U.S. West Coast



Benjamin Franklin, mega ship of CGM SA, will no longer sail between Asia and the West Coast.  Instead a smaller vessel, the Leo, will cater the trans-Pacific route.

The mega ship was taken out of trans-Pacific route and is now running a route between Asia and Europe, where larger ships are more commonly used.  The timing of the decision by the company coincided with its new capacity-sharing alliance with China’s Cosco Group and other rivals.

Reasons Speculated:

  • a glut of shipping capacity has driven freight rates to record lows.
  • the extra capacity wasn’t needed on the Trans-Pacific lane.
  • the terminal equipment and land-side infrastructure isn’t big or efficient enough to handle the world’s largest container vessels.
  • the Benjamin Franklin wasn’t loaded to capacity on its first sailings.
  • the alliance partners weren’t interested in adding a fleet of giant ships to the already well-serviced trans-Pacific route.

Today, seven ships operate the Pearl River Express service between South China and California, all of which—including Leo—now offer a maximum capacity of about 11,400 TEUs.

Source: WSJ


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