CMA CGM drops APL brand in transpacific trade
France’s CMA CGM is pulling APL out from its long running transpacific routes and deploying the latter to focus on servicing the US government.
Since CMA CGM acquired Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) in 2016, along with NOL’s carrier arm APL, both CMA CGM and APL have continued to operate their respective transpacific services.
In the latest announcement, CMA CGM said that from 1 October 2020, it will become the sole commercial carrier of the group operating in the transpacific, as a “simplification of its container trade offering.”
APL will move on to focus exclusively on servicing the US government and continue its service on the Guam-Pacific trade.
APL’s flagship Eagle Express X (EXX) and its extended services EXX RailFlash and EXX X-Location will be operated through the CMA CGM brand.
In addition to running APL’s flagship services, CMA CGM will offer over 20 services on the transpacific, providing coverage from Asia to the US East and West Coasts.
“We are leveraging the very best of CMA CGM and APL, two major carriers in the US, to bring our customers an even more focused and streamlined customer experience. This simplification fortifies the group’s number one position in the country while enabling us to build upon APL’s rich heritage of US flag-ship operations and service to the United States government,” said Ed Aldridge, president of CMA CGM and APL in the US.
The current CMA CGM regional office in Singapore will be redesigned as a major regional hub from 1 October this year, and NOL will be renamed to CMA CGM Asia Pacific Limited.
ANL Container Line, which runs services in the Oceania, will become a subsidiary of CMA CGM Asia Pacific as part of the development.
With the new development, CMA CGM said its ‘simplification’ strategy will see APL being the carrier to the US government cargo, ANL in the Oceania, CNC as the intra-Asia shortsea specialist, Mercosul Lines as the Brazilian cabotage expert, and Containerships as the multimodal transport intra-European provider.
Stephane Courquin, head of CMA CGM Asia Pacific, commented: “The reorganisation of our transpacific trade will keep our global network more efficient and diversified.
“The creation of a new Asia-Pacific hub in Singapore demonstrates our dedication to serve the region as we take supply chain efficiency to the next level, leveraging our expertise in shipping and logistics,” Courquin.
Just slightly over a year ago in May 2019, CMA CGM had announced a $1.5bn cost control programme to rationalise its brand structure with APL and ANL, putting APL as the only brand in the transpacific trade where it has traditionally been strong.
Back then, CMA CGM also said the setup will allow the group to “simplify its offer”.

THE Alliance blanks sailings and keeps services merged in August
Container shipping grouping THE Alliance has announced its blank sailing and service suspension plans for the month of August as lines continue to face reduced demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
THE Alliance, which comprises container lines, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, Ocean Network Express (ONE), and Yang Ming, said its Asia – North Europe FE4 loop would remain suspended.
On the Asia – Med trade four sailings would be blanked in August, while seven sailings to the transpacific west coast would be voided. On the transpacific east coast services via the Suez and Panama Canals the EC3 and EC1 services would remain merged with the exception of week 33.
On the Asia – Middle East trade there would be one blank sailing in August, and the AG1 and AG3 loops would remain merged. On the transatlantic trade there would be two blank sailings.
THE Alliance will continue to closely monitor the market situation and respond efficiently by restructuring their service scheme to meet market demand," ONE said.

MSC joins Smart Maritime Network

Container shipping major Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has joined the Smart Maritime Network, an industry membership group focused on increasing the compatibility, standardization, and harmonization of the technology used in the shipping industry.
“While a variety of digital innovations and IoT technologies exist in the maritime industry, MSC believes that new technology solutions will only be fit for purpose if they can be operated across multiple carriers, service providers and geographies. Collaboration is essential in this regard, so we can establish the same technology standards throughout the industry,” MSC said.
“Now, as a part of the Smart Maritime Network, we can work closely with maritime technology developers, vessel owners and operators, engineering OEMs and other key stakeholders, to develop joint approaches that will benefit the entire industry. “
Smart Maritime Network was launched in 2019 with the goal of providing a platform to promote the benefits of enhanced integration, standardisation and data sharing among stakeholders within the maritime and transport logistics sectors.
The network creates a collaborative environment for key influencers in the space to inform and educate the industry on technological developments and innovations.
MSC is also the founding member of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) on April 10, 2019 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Despite slight improvement, imports at top US ports remain below last year

Imports at major US retail container ports are expected to remain significantly below last year’s levels into this fall as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to a new monthly report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates.
“Economic indicators show that the recession brought on by the pandemic may be easing, but retailers are being conservative with the amount of merchandise they import this year,” Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold, explained.
“The outlook for imports is slowly improving, but these are still some of the lowest numbers we’ve seen in years.”
“U.S. imports are performing like a yo-yo, up one month and down the next with no apparent cause that can realistically point to either a crashing or booming economy,” Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates Founder, said.
“We’re starting to go out to eat and buy clothing again, but how sustainable is that? The danger is that the rising number of virus infections is leading to renewed restrictions, which may cause demand to weaken again.”
US ports covered by the report handled 1.53 million TEUs in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 4.8 percent from April and down 17.2 percent year-over-year.
June was estimated at 1.69 million TEU, down 5.8 percent year-over-year. July is forecast at the same 1.69 million TEU, down 14.1 percent from last year; August at 1.69 million TEU again, down 13.3 percent; September at 1.64 million TEU, down 12.3 percent; October at 1.7 million TEU, down 9.9 percent, and November at 1.68 million TEU, down 0.6 percent.
With imports usually trailing off in November and December after the bulk of holiday merchandise has arrived, the 1.7 million TEU figure for October is likely to be the busiest month of the traditional July-to-October “peak season” for shipping. If so, it would be the lowest peak since 1.61 million in September 2014.
The outlook is about the same as a month ago, with some months higher and some lower. Imports for the six-month period from May through October are expected to total 9.94 million TEU, a 0.7 percent improvement from the amount forecast a month ago.
The first half of 2020 is forecast to total 9.5 million TEU, down 9.3 percent from the same period last year but better than the 10 percent decline expected last month. Before the extent of the pandemic was known, the first half of the year was forecast at 10.47 million TEU.
Imports during 2019 totaled 21.6 million TEU, a 0.8 percent decrease from 2018 amid the trade war with China but still the second-highest year on record.
Global Port Tracker provides historical data and forecasts for the U.S. ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma on the West Coast; New York/New Jersey, Port of Virginia, Charleston, Savannah, Port Everglades, Miami and Jacksonville on the East Coast, and Houston on the Gulf Coast. 

US port relief efforts during COVID-19

As the US ports are struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, many of them are unable to do so without adequate governmental financial support.
On 9 July, as a first step in providing funding to ports, Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced the “Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Act”.
As informed, the authorization bill seeks to establish a program to provide dedicated maritime assistance and emergency relief grant funds.  The program would make funds available to US public port authorities for emergency response, cleaning and sanitization, staffing, workforce retention and paid leave, procurement and use of personal protective equipment, debt service payments, and for infrastructure repair.
“COVID-19 relief is critical for the port and maritime industry in response to challenges faced as a result of the pandemic. Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief funds will help ports manage the impact of this pandemic and ensure that ports and our maritime transportation system maintain a state of readiness and remain prepared to help lead us to economic recovery,” Christopher J. Connor, American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO, commented.
While we know that this is an authorization bill, it’s AAPA’s hope that the bill be adopted with a strong intent for its funding and that Congress will move expeditiously.”  
                                                                           (Source: The Maritime Executive, VNCustomsNews, Seatrade Maritime)