The 2M alliance has suspended one of its six Asia-Europe services, the AE1/Shogun loop, as MSC takes deliveries of five 24,000 TEU ships, according to Alphaliner’s latest report.

The Shogun loop is the first Asia-Europe service that a major shipping alliance has stopped since cargo volumes began plunging in September 2022.

This suspension will have no immediate impact on the trade, since all of the Shogun loop’s sailings from China had already been successively cancelled since early December 2022.

The decision to axe the Shogun loop coincides with MSC taking delivery of five such megamax newbuildings. Due in March and April, these 24,000 TEU ships have prompted the Swiss-Italian market leader to upsize several loops with bigger tonnage.

MSC’s relaunched Asia – Mediterranean service, Dragon, will be served with five vessels that have capacities from 9,000 to 14,400 TEU, rather than the initially scheduled tonnage of 7,000 TEU or less.

With the service suspension now made permanent, MSC and Maersk have announced changes to three other loops of their Far East – North Europe network.

Xiamen and Rotterdam will be compensated for the loss of the Shogun calls: Xiamen has been added to the AE10/Silk rotation.

Meanwhile, the former double call at Rotterdam is replaced by a westbound call on the AE6/Lion and an eastbound call on the AE55/Griffin. The AE6/Lion will soon become the biggest of all 2M loops. In March and April, four 24,000 TEU MSC newbuildings will join the fleet of this service. These will increase the average capacity from 20,300 TEU to 22,700 TEU per week and direction.

MSC is already the largest operator of megamax tonnage with 40 ships in the size range from 19,000 to 24,000 TEU, and it will receive another nine similar newbuildings this year.

Source : Container News