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Mega-container ship too big for shrinking trans-Pacific route
French shipping line CMA CGM SA will no longer run the vessel Benjamin Franklin — the largest container ship to ever call at U.S. ports — between Asia and the West Coast. The ship was replaced with a smaller vessel, the Leo, less than five months into its service on the trans-Pacific route, according to BlueWater Reporting, which tracks ocean sailing schedules. Representatives for CMA CGM didn’t respond to messages Monday. According to documents on CMA CGM’s website, the Benjamin Franklin is now running a route between Asia and Europe, where larger ships are more commonly used. The Benjamin Franklin can carry nearly 18,000 20-foot containers, or TEUs, marking a capacity record when it docked at the Port of Los Angeles late last year. On a second trip to neighboring Long Beach in February, CMA CGM held inaugural festivities. At the time, CMA CGM founder and Chief Executive Jacques Saadé told the crowd that the company was so confident in the U.S. economy and the demand for freight capacity that the carrier planned to launch six more vessels of the same size on its trans-Pacific “Pearl River Express” route. It soon became clear the extra capacity wasn’t needed on the trans-Pacific lane, where a glut of shipping capacity has driven freight rates to record lows. Source: MarketWatch
CMA CGM Cancels West Coast ULCV Service
CMA CGM has confirmed reports that it will not be deploying ultra-large container vessels like the CMA CGM BENJAMIN FRANKLIN on regular trans-Pacific runs. A spokesman for the line cited the "current trans-Pacific market situation" in comments to the Wall Street Journal. Eastbound trans-Pacific spot rates have fallen to $750-$800 per forty-foot unit, roughly half the rate two years ago. CMA CGM is just starting new a carrier alliance with COSCOCS, OOCL and Evergreen, which will begin operations next year (subject to regulatory approval). At least one of these partners – OOCL – has already seen revenue suffer in recent months despite increasing volume, thanks in part to falling rates on oversupplied Asia-U.S. West Coast routes. The addition of six 18,000 TEU vessels calling at Los Angeles / Long Beach would have made the overcapacity problem worse for carriers and alliances, analysts said.
Mega-ship christening sends message to US ports to prepare
The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin on Friday was christened in Long Beach, and with the largest container ship to call in the U.S., with a capacity of 18,000 20-foot container units, the carrier was sending a message to ports on both coasts. “These are the vessels the U.S. will have to handle on a regular basis in the very near future,” said Marc Bourdon, president of CMA CGM America. CMA CGM is helping West Coast ports to prepare for the arrival of the mega-ships of 18,000-TEU capacity through a series of trial runs. The Benjamin Franklin in late December made its maiden voyage to the APM terminal in Los Angeles, and then called in Oakland before returning to Asia. The Benjamin Franklin called this week at the Pacific Container Terminal in Long Beach, and it will proceed up the coast next week to Oakland and Seattle. Bourdon explained that the trial runs on the West Coast will give the ports, terminal operators, port pilots, longshoremen, truckers, railroads and other stakeholders experience in handling vessels that in some cases are twice the size of the ships they have been handling. http://www.joc.com/maritime-news/container-lines/us-ports-advised-prepare-now-services-18000-teu-ships_20160219.htmlUpload News