Australia And New Zealand: If You’re Planning To Sail There By Cargo Ship In 2020, This Is What You Need To Know

by Kevin Griffin

Once or twice a year we have a look at the cargo ship passenger market, which counts around 300 passenger-carrying ships in the trade. Now offered solely by European owners, services are by shipowners from Germany and Poland in the north and from France and Italy in the south. The main cargo-passenger operators now are Marseilles-based CMA CGM, Naples-based Grimaldi Lines, a number of different German owners, including NSB, but no longer Hamburg-Süd and Rickmers Line, which have both withdrawn. The Polish Steamship Company operates about fifteen ships in the North Atlantic Great Lakes trade. Two older names have also re-entered the passenger trades, as Atlantic Container Line (ACL), a subsidiary of Grimaldi Lines, now has five 12-passenger ships on the North Atlantic, and APL, now part of CMA CGM, has revived passenger service on eighteen of its Singapore-based ships, mainly in the Pacific.

THIS WEEK’S STORY

Australia And New Zealand By Sea

For “Down Under” sea travellers, things are not what they used to be though. Not many years ago, Contship, NSB, Rickmers and P&O Nedlloyd offered direct passenger space on fifteen ships running between Europe and Australasia, with a choice of sailings via Suez or Panama.

The Bank Line also ran four ships to New Zealand and Blue Star Line and Columbus Line offered frequent sailings to and from the USA. And MSC once offered regular service via Durban.

The 5 passenger CMA CGM Amber and CMA CGM Coral operate between Hong Kong, Brisbane and new Zealand ports

The 5 passenger CMA CGM Amber and CMA CGM Coral operate between Hong Kong, Brisbane and new Zealand ports

Today, NSB operate but two direct ships, the 5-passenger Buxcliff and MSC Flaminia, sailing from London Gateway and other European ports via Suez to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. But they do not serve New Zealand.

The Nordpacific, Nordserena and Nordmaple offer occasional sailings via Panama that do call in New Zealand, but they have only one cabin each and are on short-term charters.

Other than these ships, which are always fully-booked, one needs to use one’s ingenuity if one wants to sail all the way to Australia these days.

Sailing From Europe

If one wants to sail all the way, and there is no space on the direct ships, specialist agents like The Cruise People offer through passages with a change of ships en route. But here are some facts you need to know before proceeding:

The 6 passenger CMA CGM Georgia and CMA CGM New Jersey operate between Australian ports and Singapore

The 6 passenger CMA CGM Georgia and CMA CGM New Jersey operate between Australian ports and Singapore

· As Singapore is now the last port of call in Asia it is no longer a quick trip from the UK. The outbound trip is now more than twice as long as the inbound voyage
· Port Kelang requires passengers arriving by cargo ship to be able to present a valid flight ticket back to their country of origin.

And here are some transit times and fares from Europe to Singapore and Port Kelang:
· Southampton/Singapore 50 days (€6,627 pp double or €7,627 single)
· Algeciras/Singapore 45 days (€5,977 pp double or €6,877 single)
· Malta/Singapore 39 days (€5,197 pp double or €5,977 single

If customers don’t mind buying refundable flight tickets to allow them to disembark in Port Kelang, then it will cut at least two weeks off their sea time and save them lots of money.

· Southampton/Port Kelang 36 days (€4,807 pp double or €5,527 single)
· Algeciras/Port Kelang 21 days (€2,857 pp double or €3,277 single)
· Malta/Port Kelang 24 days (€3,247 pp double or €3,727 single)

There are regular Australian sailings from Singapore and Port Kelang to Fremantle (9 days), Sydney (15 days), Melbourne (18 days) and Adelaide (21 days). One just needs to allow enough days between sailings in case there are slippages in the schedules

Returning to Europe

From 1992 until the early 2000s Contship Lines ran a 7 passenger pink containership called the Contship Germany between Europe and Australia

From 1992 until the early 2000s Contship Lines ran a 7 passenger pink containership called the Contship Germany between Europe and Australia

If clients are looking to sail just one way then agents highly recommend the northbound voyage as with Singapore being the last port in Asia, it offers much faster sailings back to Europe. Here are the typical transit times and fares:

· Fremantle/Singapore 8 days (€1,087 pp double or €1,247 single)
· Sydney/Singapore 19 days, (€2,407 pp double or €2,787 single)
· Singapore/Algeciras 18 days (€2,467 pp double or €2,827 single)
· Singapore/Le Havre 21 days (€2,857 pp double or €3,277 single)
· Singapore/Southampton 21 days (€2,857 pp double or €3,277 single)

Sailing from North America

For other combinations involving a change of ship here are some routings and transit times via Asia and the Pacific:

The 10-passenger CMA CGM Chopin and CMA CGM Mozart operate between Australia, Japan and Chinese ports

The 10-passenger CMA CGM Chopin and CMA CGM Mozart operate between Australia, Japan and Chinese ports

· Oakland/Hong Kong 16 days (Columbus Jax) (€1,887 pp double or €2,207 single)
· Oakland/Hong Kong 19 days (Pearl River) (€2,217 pp double or €2,597 single)
· Vancouver/Qingdao 26 days (PNW Line) (€2,987 pp double or €3,507 single)
· Vancouver/Singapore 39 days (PNW Line) (€4,417 pp double or €5,197 single)
· Hong Kong/Brisbane 21 days (Anzex Line) (€2,647 pp double or €3067 single)
· Ningbo/Auckland 21 days (Anzex Line) (€2,647 pp double or €3,067 single)
· Ningbo/Brisbane 16 days (Anzex Line) (€2,047 pp double or €2,367 single)
· Qingdao/Melbourne 18 days (A3N ANL) (€2,287 pp double or €2,647 single)
· Qingdao/Sydney 21 days (A3N ANL) (€2,647 pp double or €3,067 single)

With return times back from Australia and New Zealand
· Brisbane/Yokohama 12 days (A3N ANL) (€1,567 pp double or €1,807 single)
· Singapore/Yokohama 15 days (A3N ANL) (€1,927 pp double or €2,277 single)
· Sydney/Qingdao 20 days (A3N ANL) (€2,527 pp double or €2,927 single)
· Tauranga/Hong Kong 14 days (A3N ANL) (€1,807 pp double or €2,087 single)

And return times and fares back to North America
· Hong Kong/Los Angeles 18 days (Pearl River) (€2,107 pp double or €2,467 single)
· Singapore/Los Angeles 28 days (Columbus Jax) (€3,207 pp double or €3,767 sole)

Cargo ship voyages can be booked by a few specialist agents located in the UK, the US, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

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