Munkebo Maersk, the latest Triple-E ship to be delivered to Maersk Line, made history last weekend when it set sail from Dalian as the first vessel in the 2M vessel-sharing alliance with Mediterranean Shipping Co.
The 18,270 teu Munkebo Maersk, which sailed directly from the Daiwoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering shipyard in Okpo where it was built, to Dalian, will join Maersk's AE5 loop on its maiden voyage.
From Dalian, the ship will head to Busan, Qingdao, Ningbo, Xiamen, and Tanjung Pelepas before transiting the Suez Canal on February 7 and heading to Europe.
The arrival of the latest Triple-E leaves just six more of the original order of 20 to be delivered. However, Maersk Line is expected to acquire another four ships of similar capacity when it resumes newbuilding activity this year in order to be able to operate two complete Asia-Europe loops with these vessels which, until a few weeks ago, were the largest in the world in terms of nominal container intake.
They were then overtaken by the 19,100 TEU CSCL Globe which is now about to lose its top status to the 19,224 teu MSC Oscar, which was formally inaugurated at a ceremony in Busan on Thursday attended by Mediterranean Shipping Co chief executive Diego Aponte, and will enter service on January 25.
MSC Oscar is due to join MSC's Albatross service as part of the 2M network, with the first sailing from Dalian.
The next ship in this series, MSC Oliver, is scheduled for delivery in March.
Maersk and MSC unveiled plans to team up in July, soon after the proposed P3 Network, which also would have included CMA CGM, was disbanded following China's veto.
Covering all three east-west trades, the VSA will consist of 193 vessels totalling 2.4m teu serving 77 ships on 22 service strings.
The alliance could not start any earlier because of the need for Maersk to withdraw from consortia arrangements with CMA CGM which is now joining the Ocean Three alliance with China Shipping and United Arab Shipping Co. That, too, starts about now.
Source: Lloyd's List