CORRECTED-Maersk Line to cut stops in HK, divert to Nansha – report

(Corrects in second para to 24 of the 71 ships calling from 47)

HONG KONG, March 25 (Reuters) – Maersk Line , the
world’s largest container-shipping company and a unit of Danish
A.P. Moller-Maersk AS , will cut the number of ship
calls to Hong Kong by about a third from April, one of the
biggest changes for the world’s third-busiest port in years, the
South China Morning Post said.

About 850 container ships owned or operated by Maersk Line
call at Hong Kong each year, and 24 of the 71 ships
calling every month would be transferred to Guangzhou South
China Oceangate Container Terminal, partly owned by Maersk
affiliate APM Terminals, in the southern Chinese port of Nansha,
the newspaper reported on Friday.

The shift was confirmed by Soren Karas, head of South China
for Maersk Line, the paper said.

Maersk intended to create a third major gateway at Nansha to
augment its South China gateways at Yantian and Hong Kong, Karas
said.

All these vessels are handled by Wharf Holdings Ltd
unit Modern Terminals, whose berths at Container
Terminal 9 are almost a dedicated Maersk Line facility.

“We share the view with Maersk of the strategic importance
of South China and we have a long-term and successful working
history with Maersk in Hong Kong and Shenzhen’s Da Chan Bay and
this will continue,” said Modern Terminals spokeswoman Joel
Cheung.

She did not comment further on the change.

Hong Kong’s container port has seen more cargoes in China’s
Pearl River Delta shift to Shenzhen and Guangzhou ports, which
are closer to manufacturing bases and have cheaper handling
costs.

(Reporting by Alison Leung; Editing by Chris Lewis)

CORRECTED-Maersk Line to cut stops in HK, divert to Nansha – report