The German container gateway of Hamburg won’t see a drop in throughput after the shipping alliance network reshuffles scheduled for 1 April, it was claimed today.

While the recently published east-west schedule for the Ocean Alliance was largely unchanged, a Hamburg call on its Asia-North Europe NEU5/FAL3 service will be swtched to Antwerp, raising fears that the German hub could lose up to 150,000 teu per year.

However, Axel Mattern, joint chief executive of Port of Hamburg Marketing, claimed those volumes would instead be carried on the alliance’s NEU2, NEU3, NEU4, NEU6 and NEU7 services, which will continue to call at the port.

“In the course of optimising annual planning, the resulting transfer of one of the six services creates no overall problem either for the shippers or the port of Hamburg,” he said.

“In the shipping industry, such liner service adjustments are absolutely normal when the shipping alliances develop new products, and present no cause for concern. Hamburg is not losing any cargo because of it,” he added.

Maersk is also set to change its sailing schedule; its weekly ME1 service connecting Europe to India and the Middle East and featuring calls at Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven, will from next month, temporarily not be calling at Hamburg.

Maersk said the ex-Hamburg cargo carried on ME1 could be transferred to its Maersk AE7 service.

“We assume that, with Hamburg served by the AE7 service, the majority of containers from the ME 1 service will continue to be handled in Hamburg after the fairway adjustment. The 12 mega-containerships deployed on the AE7, with a capacity of between 16,500 and 19,500 teu, offer the necessary transport capacity,” explained Ingo Egloff, Mr Mattern’s joint chief executive at Port of Hamburg Marketing.

Following the ME1 suspension, Maersk calls at Hamburg will be five a week.

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