CMA CGM is further revising its Pacific Express 3 (PEX 3) around-the-world service, according to information from ocean carrier and schedule database BlueWater Reporting
In February, the French ocean carrier said it was converting the PEX3 service between Asia and the United States to an eastbound around-the-world service
, rather than having vessels transit the Panama Canal and Pacific Ocean in both directions.
Originally the company said the ships in the string, would call Houston, Mobile, Miami, Jacksonville and Charleston, and then Tangiers on their return leg to Asia, giving U.S. exporters an opportunity to feeder cargo to West Africa. But the company has now indicated it plans to route vessels around Africa and avoid the Suez Canal
. It also appears the company has dropped plans to call the Port of Charleston.
The PEX3 is operated with 11 vessels with an average capacity of 5,065 TEUs, according to BlueWater Reporting. The service has a current port rotation of Qingdao, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Busan, Manzanillo (PA), Houston, Mobile,
Miami, Jacksonville, Singapore, and Qingdao.
CMA CGM appears to be part of a trend noted by the consulting firm SeaIntel
in February of an increased number of container carriers avoiding the expensive tolls at the Panama Canal and Suez Canal.
SeaIntel explained that with the price of bunker fuel dropping sharply, some container shipping companies are taking the longer return route to Asia on both Asia-Europe and Asia-U.S. East/Gulf services around the Cape of Good Hope. With oil prices low, they are able to speed up ships and still keep to their published schedules at a reasonable cost by using the route around Africa and avoid paying the Panama or Suez canal fees.