120523 Mette Maersk at Cai Mep

The 2M partners Maersk and MSC, and their transpacific partner Zim are set to increase Asia-US east coast capacity with a new service in May.

Dubbed the TP23/Palmetto service, it will deploy 10 6,500 teu vessels, with eight provided by Maersk and two from Zim.

The service, which will transit the Panama Canal, has a proforma rotation of Vung Tau-Yantian-Savannah-Charelston-New York, although the carrier said that initially the calls at the Savanah and Charleston would be switched in the first few sailings due to congestion at the former.

Maersk said the new service would “address the capacity and scheduling issues that have beset Asia-US east coast shippers over the past year”, after a dramatic decline in shipments was followed by an almost equally dramatic return in volumes which caught carries and forwarders alike off-guard and forced lines to introduce a series of extra loaders and other solutions to cater for unexpected demand.

“The evolution of the TP23 service reflects Maersk’s 2020 approach to serve the transpacific to US east coast cargo surges via additional capacity from service upgrades, extra-loaders and loadings on the Asia-Europe network for transhipment onto extra loader shuttles across the Atlantic.

“The TP23 will now become a structured, stable, weekly service in 2021 with greater reliability,” it said.

Narin Phol, MD of Maersk North America, added: “Importers are looking for more US east coast gateways in their Asia-North America supply chains while exporters are looking for more equipment – especially in the south-east US region.

“The TP23 service will enable us to address these needs while integrating our warehousing and distribution network,” he added.

According to the eeSea liner database, total monthly capacity between Asia and US east coast is currently around 700,000 teu, although that figure also includes services that route via Suez.

The 2M partners currently offer six Asia-US east coast loops, two via the Panama canal and two via Suez, while the remaining two are round-the-world pendulums that transit Panama on the headhaul Asia-US east coast leg, and return to Asia via the Atlantic and Suez Canal.

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