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The 2M alliance of Maersk and MSC is to leave the UK port of Southampton.
It has announced it will drop the call at the country’s second largest container gateway by the Asia-Europe AE1/Shogun service the carriers jointly operate.
A spokesman for Maersk told The Loadstar: “The reason for withdrawing the Southampton call was because we could not offer reliable service with the number of port calls in the rotation. Thus, in order to improve our service quality, we decided to take the call out.”
The last 2M vessel to call at Southampton will be the 19,500 teu MSC Diana, which is set to depart Colombo on 28 February and, according to Maersk’s schedule, arrive at Southampton on 21 March.
The spokesman confirmed that this would end the line’s direct services into the port.
“AE1 was the only Southampton direct call for Maersk Line. We will offer a service into Southampton using a third-party operated feeder.
Maersk said that “until further notice” Southampton-bound cargo would be carried on feeder vessels out of continental ports to Felixstowe and trucked from there, or shippers could book cargo on the recently launched feeder service between Rotterdam and Bristol.
Just before Christmas, Maersk and European feeder specialist BG Freight Line jointly launched a weekly string between the two ports, deploying a 1,000 teu vessel, which was said to be attracting interest from “a wide range of trades, including forest products, alcohol and retail”.