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.
- 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.