As the global shipping lines struggle to deal with the largest ever drop in demand for sea freight, shoring up freight rates through capacity discipline, HMM has taken delivery of the world’s biggest containerships.
HMM’s sadly mis-timed growth strategy, kicked off with the Chistening of the world’s largest containership, the 24,000 teu HMM Algeciras, in Korea three weeks ago.
Now on its inaugural voyage the HMM Algeciras is en-route to Rotterdam and thence London Gateway, with 19,621 TEUs on board. It is the first of a series of 12 x 24,000 TEU-class mega-vessels that are due to be delivered to HMM by the end of September 2020
With the lines withdrawing 34 of the scheduled 130 sailings from Asia this month, it is being speculated that HMM Algeciras’ first sailing could also be its last for a while, as the demand slump in North Europe, has led The Alliance partners to merge the FE4 and FE2 strings.
Earlier this week, HMM took delivery of HMM OSLO, the second of the twelve ‘megamax-24k teu’ containerships due this year that, together with eight x16,000 teu vessels also under construction, form part of HMM’s largest-ever capacity expansion.
Delivered in the midst of the coronavirus’ economic storm and the largest ever drop in demand for sea freight, the two series of ships were originally ordered in 2018 for a weekly ultra – high capacity Asia – North Europe service.
This plans been thwarted by the Coronavirus pandemic and the phase-in of HMM’s new giants will probably be stretched out over an extended period and employment plans for the remaining units could change as the situation evolves.
The original deployment plans have therefore been adjusted. Instead of a new HMM-operated loop using the twelve new 23,000+ teu ships, the new ships have been assigned to the new ‘temporary FE2’ service of THE Alliance, created in early May from the merger of the regular ’FE2’ and ’FE4’ loops.
For the time being, the first new HMM megamax ships are expected to trade on this loop alongside the somewhat smaller 20,000+ teu units of HMM’s alliance partners.
The temporary loop is scheduled to last until mid-July, but could be extended if the cargo lull continues.