ACL Schedule Change
ACL has finally decided on its 2018 schedule, now that all of its new G4 vessels are in service. The big change is the conversion of the Gothenburg service from a direct call to a dedicated feeder. The new ACL weekly feeder service will deploy a container vessel that will load Swedish export cargo each Monday in Gothenburg (same as today) and discharge Wednesday morning at AET Antwerp. The transatlantic ACL vessel arrives AET on Wednesday night and will discharge Swedish import containers first so the feeder vessel will load and depart Antwerp on Thursday, arriving back in Gothenburg by Monday morning. This service will start in the second half of January.
ACL will use public feeders between the other Swedish ports and Hamburg/Bremerhaven.
For Swedish RORO cargo ACL is setting up a relay service using the Grimaldi Euromed vessel between Wallhamn and Antwerp.
ACL has called at Gothenburg for all of its 50 years, so this is a big change for the company. However, the gradual decline in ocean freight rates over the past five years, combined with the inflexible berth availability, steadily increasing costs and lagging productivity at Gothenburg have given ACL no choice but to make changes to its schedule to improve the reliability of its service. This change will give ACL 3.5 days of additional time in the schedule, restoring reliability and precision to the ACL operation – factors for which ACL used to be well known. Starting in mid-January 2018, ACL will have a reliable day-of-the-week schedule again at all of its ports. A simple comparison of the changes to the European rotation (there are no changes to the current North American port rotation of Halifax-New York-Baltimore-Norfolk-New York-Halifax is shown below:
- Current ACL European port rotation: Liverpool-Antwerp-Hamburg-Gothenburg-Antwerp-Liverpool
- ACL 2018 European port rotation: Liverpool-Hamburg-Antwerp-Liverpool
Hamburg will enjoy a transit time improvement with this new schedule: 2 days faster eastbound and 3 days faster westbound. Gothenburg, Liverpool and Antwerp transit times will be similar to those of today. The new service will result in a dramatic reliability improvement to what ACL has been offering Swedish customers during the past 12 months. ACL will operate this new service for six months then review it afterward. All of the port’s stakeholders – customers, terminal operator and labor – will play a significant role in determining whether ACL maintains, expands or reduces this service thereafter.