Southampton and London Gateway have gained while Felixstowe has lost out after the G6 Alliance announced the UK port calls of its consolidated USA service shake up. The G6 Alliance, comprising APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), MOL, Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and OOCL, have now extended their cooperation to cover transatlantic and transpacific services after receiving FMC approval earlier this year. This extension of cooperation between G6 members is to prepare for increased competition from the proposed P3 Alliance of Maersk, CMA-CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Co if it obtains the final regulatory clearance.

Which UK ports would be used had been the subject of much speculation since February, when the carriers revealed that the services would call in the UK. Competition between UK ports is intensifying as capacity is increasing, while volumes remain stagnant. Southampton will host the new AX1 service, which is a combination of the old AAE service of APL, HMM and MOL that called at Felixstowe and the ATX of Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and OOCL that called at Southampton. Four 7,000 to 8,700TEU vessels will be deployed on the revised service, which will start in May and will include calls at Le Havre, Rotterdam and Hamburg. AM

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