In a notice to customers, Cosco subsidiary OOCL said it had been 'working very closely' with its Ocean Alliance partners on 'fine-tuning adjustments', reported The Loadstar, UK.
Alphaliner said the new offering from the alliance partners, CMA CGM, Cosco (including OOCL) and Evergreen, was 'very similar' to the current Day 3 product, the main change being the termination of an Asia to east Mediterranean string, removing one of the five loops on this tradelane.
The service was launched in April 2017 as part of the Ocean Alliance's Day 1 product and will come to a halt on January 24 after the sailing from Qingdao of the 5,364-TEU Ever Useful.
Elsewhere, Hamburg is being dropped at the expense of Antwerp on the NEU5/FAL3 Asia-North Europe loop, which delivers a blow to the German port that had been clawing back business lost to Benelux ports during years of inertia over the river Elbe deepening talks.
The Ocean Alliance says the capacity deployed on the revised network will be the same as in Day 3 - 3.8 million TEU - however, Alphaliner said the partners would likely raise capacity on several of their services after newbuild mega box ships and other large tonnage join the global cellular fleet this year.
'CMA CGM is expected to deploy all nine LNG-powered 23,112 TEU ships on the flagship FAL1 (NEU4) Asia-North Europe service, starting from June,' said Alphaliner.
'These ships will join three 20,954 TEU units and gradually replace the other nine ships, of 15,000-17,800 TEU. The total capacity of the service will be increased from 17,600 TEU to 22,500 TEU once all the new ships are delivered by the first quarter of 2021,' the consultancy said.
CMA CGM has an orderbook of 30 ships with a total capacity of 468,000 TEU. Taiwan's Evergreen, which has 555,000 TEU for 68 ships on its orderbooks is anticipated to phase-in ten 12,000 TEU vessels this year on the Asia-US east coast tradelane, bumping up the average containership capacity on the alliance's AUE/AWE2 loop from 10,000 TEU to 12,000 TEU.
'These changes are expected to trigger vessel cascading programmes that will see smaller ships of 5,000-7,000 TEU currently deployed on various [Ocean Alliance] routes replaced by larger ships,' said Alphaliner.