CMA CGM has become the first line to commit a fleet of ultra-large containerships (ULCs) to the transpacific trade.
The French line is to deploy six 18,000 TEU vessels Pearl River Express service between Asia and the US West Coast starting from the end of May, after trialing a single such ship, the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin since late December 2015.
“This decision is in line with both the growth strategy set by the group in the United States and around the world and the optimisation of its fleet,” CMA CGM said.
It comes at a time when the Asia-Europe trade remains weak and faces continued overcapacity as more ULCs are delivered to lines.
Up till the move by CMA CGM to deploy the CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin into the US West Coast lines had shied away from deploying ULCs on the transpacific trade over concerns of the ability of ports to handle vessels of such size, leaving no alternative to the Asia–Europe trade.
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