MAERSK Line will this week add a fourth vessel to its trans-Tasman Polaris service, in conjunction with changes to its OC1 East Coast North America product.

The 2824 TEU Archer, which has been ‘freelancing’ on various Maersk duties, is scheduled to arrive at Port Botany from Tanjung Pelepas on Wednesday evening (31 January) to take up Polaris service.

The addition of the fourth ship enables Maersk to increase the frequency of Tauranga calls to weekly, such that Polaris’ weekly rotation now becomes Port Botany, Auckland, Nelson, Timaru, Port Chalmers, Tauranga, Port Botany.

Archer joins the 2230 Nicolai Maersk and the 1732 TEU sisters AS Simone and AS Sabine, although the latter is due to be replaced in Port Chamers on 8 February by the 1800 TEU Nordmaas.

On 11 January Maersk announced that OC1 would be split into two loops, Atlantic and Pacific, with ships no longer transitting the problematic Panama Canal and cargo moved between the two loops by Panama rail/landbridge. As part of this revamp OC1’s Port Botany call has been dropped and a Brisbane direct call added.

Maersk advised last week that due to the DP World industrial action the first ship on the Pacific loop of AC1, Maersk Bali 352S/405N will perform a port swap between Brisbane and Melbourne, with Melbourne (30 January) now being called prior to Brisbane (3 February) to mitigate any further impact to forward scheduling.

Maersk Bali will also undertake a terminal change at Melbourne, to now call Patricks terminal for discharge and loading operations.