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CMA CGM has shelved its grand plan to have six mega-containerships on the Asia-US West Coast trade.

After the US West Coast calls at Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and Seattle of the liner company’s 18 000-TEU Benjamin Franklin during the 2015/16 northern hemisphere winter season, the French carrier has abandoned the calls on account of weak market conditions after just five months.

That mega-ships won’t be calling at the US will be a blow for the West Coast with the Panama Canal offering options for smaller ships to travel to the East Coast once the expansion is complete in July.

News reports revealed some considerable scepticism about deploying such large vessels to the US West Coast. This because what were described as the region’s “antiquated” ports had actually been struggling to handle far smaller vessels. And the 398 meters-long Benjamin Franklin required 56 hours, nine cranes and 11 200 container moves to unload the vessel.

The decision also came at a time when CMA CGM had arranged a new capacity-sharing alliance – being part of the new Ocean Alliance. This brought together the recently formed China Cosco Shipping, with Evergreen Line, CMA CGM, and OOCL in a vessel- and slot-sharing agreement. Reports were that speculation was rife that CMA CGM’s partners weren’t interested in adding a fleet of giant ships to the already well-serviced trans-Pacific route.

Source FTW – online

Other major carriers are likely to follow suit – reduced the global container carrying capacity which will allow carriers to start increasing rates as the demand from space increases.