The ANL Container Line-led KIX service will merge with rival NZS next month, bringing to an end more than two years of severe overcapacity in the Southeast Asia-Australia/New Zealand trade.
The way to consolidation has been paved by the recent decisions of Mitsui OSK Lines to leave NZS in favour of a new relationship with Maersk Line and Hanjin Shipping’s abandonment of KIX and the NZ market.
Under an agreement announced on Friday night (October 9) ANL will effectively take the place of MOL in NZS, contributing one 4250 teu ship but also buying additional slots from remaining NZS members PIL, OOCL, NYK and APL.
The NZS format will be slightly expanded to include northbound Brisbane calls – a move understood to have been under consideration for some time anyway – which enables ANL to maintain important trans-Tasman coverage of the Queensland market. ANL will continue to use the KIX designation.
The new KIX/NZS rotation will be Port Kelang, Singapore, Brisbane, Auckland, Lyttelton, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Brisbane, Port Kelang on a 42-day round voyage maintained by 6 x c.4250 teu vessels (two supplied by PIL, with one each by OOCL, NYK, APL and ANL).
ANL thus sheds KIX’s current southbound Sydney call but picks up direct calls at Lyttelton, Wellington and Napier. It says southbound Sydney cargoes from SE Asia will be picked up by the AAX service while eastbound trans-Tasman from Sydney will be covered by three of its other services including TranzTas.
The future plans of KIX partner Coscon are unclear after late last week it withdrew from negotiations to join ANL in NZS. It is now thought likely to follow MOL into Maersk’s embrace.
KIX was launched by ANL, APL and Hanjin in August 2013, initially as a fortnightly service but soon upgraded to weekly.
However, the viability of KIX and the long-established NZS was undermined a little over a year ago when cargo consolidator Kotahi – jointly owned by dairy giant Fonterra and meat producer Silver Fern Farms – signed an exclusive agreement with Maersk Line.
This saw a number of carriers, including ANL/CMA CGM, PIL, Coscon, OOCL and MSC, lose substantial export volumes. At the same time as part of the Kotahi deal Maersk started a third weekly SEA-NZ service, Triple Star, although this is only just resuming on an ‘as required’ basis after a suspension of several months.
The cessation of KIX as a standalone service will take around 2,500 teu per week (nominal) out of the market.
The final KIX voyage in the current format will be by ANL Euroa (although a substitute vessel may be used) departing Singapore on 9 November. Before the new agreement takes effect ANL will charter slots on the NZS vessel Sri Lanka on its 16 November sailing.
ANL will transfer one KIX vessel, ANL Kurango, to the PAD/NASP/AUS1 service while the others are nearing the end of charters and will likely be offhired.
Keeping you updated,
Aaron PooleBack to News Page