After a gap of around five years, the world’s largest container line has returned to the port of Southampton. On 17 February the 8,130teu Susan Maersk, arrived at the port’s DP World Container terminal.

In mid-February the world’s two largest shipping lines, Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), began a new vessel-sharing agreement known as 2M Alliance. The arrival of the 1998-built Susan Maersk marked the inaugural call of their AE9 service, which calls at both Southampton and Felixstowe and is one of six separate services offered by the two lines between the Far East and Northern Europe. The AE9 service has the following port rotation: Southampton, Le Havre, Antwerp, Felixstowe, Chiwan, Ningbo, Shanghai. Ten Maersk vessels are deployed on the route, with capacities of 8,130 to 10,500teu.

Brian Godsafe, managing director of Maersk Line UK and Ireland, said: ‘The new call has been designed to service businesses in the South West of the UK. We are pleased to be able to offer these businesses an alternative mainline port. Our new network provides our UK customers with more services to and from markets in the Far East, and having a call in Southampton offers flexibility to local businesses.’

Susan Maersk, and the five other sister vessels deployed on the service, measures 347m by 42.8m (17 boxes wide) and is 92,198gt. In 2012 all of Maersk’s 16 S-class vessels had their navigation bridges elevated. AM

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