The Gemini cooperation agreement between Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd will rely heavily on a small number of transhipment hubs to support its new network, according to the latest update by Drewry.

"The operational performance of several of the terminals is assessed to be world-class in terms of intensity of asset use but Drewry highlights that strong performance will be essential if the hub-and-spoke strategy is to succeed."

The Gemini cooperation agreement covers seven trades – Asia/USWC, Asia/USEC, Asia–/Middle East, Asia/Mediterranean, Asia/North Europe, Middle East-India/Europe and Transatlantic. The network comprises 26 mainline services supported by 32 dedicated shuttle routes.

"The planned network streamlines the number of port calls in each region with the aim of reducing disruption. As a result, the loops are focussed heavily on ‘hub & spoke’ transhipment hubs supported by high-capacity dedicated shuttle loops that link the regional hubs with other gateway ports. In total, the mainline services will call at only 56 ports with a further 29 ports served by dedicated shuttles."

Gemini cooperation hub ports

(Source: Drewry)

The services operated under the Gemini cooperation agreement will make extensive use of 15 hub ports (see map). APMT operates terminals in eight of the selected ports with Hapag-Lloyd having operational terminals in two of the ports while investing in a third, the update added. "The high level of ownership across the hub port network provides the partners with a greater degree of control over operational management and investment plans – both of which will be key to the success of the hub-and-spoke strategy the partnership will employ.

"Several of the selected hub ports are already world leaders in terms of operational performance – APMT’s facilities in Tanger Med are both handling over 2,000 TEU per metre of quay and more than 200,000 TEU per crane, as is APMT Salalah. Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, East Port Said and Algeciras – all of which handle high levels of transhipment – also rank highly in Drewry’s annual survey of terminal performance."

While the use of high-capacity dedicated shuttle services will facilitate efficient use of yard space at the hub ports, any repeat of the supply chain disruption seen in 2021-22 will put the Gemini network strategy under extreme pressure. The hub ports will need to provide sufficient buffer storage to make up for any mainline or feeder vessel delays, the update added.

Read Full Article