2M alliance members, Maersk Line and MSC have announced they will cease the operation of their AE3/Great Sea Service early November. Also the weekly TA4/NEUATL4 loops between Northern Europe and North America will cease to operate during winter season.

The AE3/Great Sea Service between Far East and Black Sea is a rather small service operating with vessels between 4.350 and 7.250 TEU only. It is part of the vessel sharing agreement of Maersk and MSC.

According to a statement released by MSC the cargo volumes for this loop are presently insufficient to justify to continuation of the service. Volumes for Constanta, Illycichevsk and Novorossiysk will be handled in transshipment via the new MSC terminal in Turkey.

The AE15/Tiger service operating 11 MSC vessels of approx. 14.000 teu capacity is calling Tekirdag in Turkey as second discharging port in East med after Evyap but before Istanbul, Piraeus and Port Said.
Maersk will combine their AE3 and AE15 loops resulting in a slot decrease of 5.500 container slots.

This decision taken by the 2M Alliance is following the disappearance of AE9/Condor service earlier this year. The announcement is following a new dip of freight rates on the Far East Northern Europe loops while analysts except that rates will go further down the coming weeks. This could lead to a dramatic situation where carriers will be facing operational losses while shippers will be confronted with a reduction of departures.

Starting week 44, the 2M Alliance will also make the necessary changes of their North Atlantic service. The TA4/NEUATL4 loops from Antwerp, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven to New York and Savannah which had taken off earlier this year in April will temporarily be stopped. The vessels operating in this service have capacities of 4.350 till 4.800 TEU.