Executive Briefings

Maersk to Halt Asia-U.S. East Coast Transit Through Panama Canal

Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipping company, will stop plying through the Panama Canal to move goods from Asia to the U.S. east coast as bigger ships help the company move it profitably through Suez Canal.

Maersk Line will send vessels through Suez Canal that can carry as many as 9,000 20-foot boxes at a time, instead of using two 4,500-box-vessels through Panama Canal, Soeren Skou, chief executive officer of Maersk Line, said in Singapore today. The last sailing through Panama will be on April 7 and the first service through Suez will be a week later, the company said in an e-mail statement.

"The economics are much, much better via the Suez Canal simply because you have half the number of ships," Skou said. "One of the reasons for why this is happening now is that the cost for passing through the Panama Canal has gone up. At the end of the day, it comes down to cost."

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Maersk Line will send vessels through Suez Canal that can carry as many as 9,000 20-foot boxes at a time, instead of using two 4,500-box-vessels through Panama Canal, Soeren Skou, chief executive officer of Maersk Line, said in Singapore today. The last sailing through Panama will be on April 7 and the first service through Suez will be a week later, the company said in an e-mail statement.

"The economics are much, much better via the Suez Canal simply because you have half the number of ships," Skou said. "One of the reasons for why this is happening now is that the cost for passing through the Panama Canal has gone up. At the end of the day, it comes down to cost."

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