APL bows out from Asia-Europe tradelane

After more than 30 years a famous name is bowing out on the Asia-Europe boxship tradelane. France’s CMA CGM yesterday announced a significant restructuring of the group. Among key changes, APL, bought from Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek in 2016, will no longer be involved on the Asia-Europe trades.

CMA CGM has been in aggressive takeover mode recently, taking on CEVA Logistics and regional short-sea players such as Mercosul and Containerships in the last year adding to its plethora of transport brands that also includes intra-Asia specialist CNC and Australian line ANL. Yesterday it moved to rationalise its various subsidiaries.

Effective October 1, CMA CGM will be the only carrier within the group’s stable of brands in the transatlantic, Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Caribbean and Europe-India/Middle East markets.

APL will focus on the transpacific, Asia-Indian Subcontinent where it will be the group’s only brand, intra-Asia, with sister company CNC, Asia-Oceania, and the US flag services. ANL will remain the lead brand for Oceania.

“The new organizational setup will allow the Group to simplify its offer, making it more legible to its customers, and benefit from the expertise of specialist companies from coherent regional groups, while reducing its costs,” CMA CGM stated in a release.

Commenting on APL’s exit from the key Asia-Europe tradelane, Andy Lane, Singapore-based container shipping consultant, told Splash today: “It makes sense for APL to be laser-focused on intra-Asia, Oceania and the transpac. The CMA brand is stronger on Asia-Europe, so there’s really no need to continue with dual brands.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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