With the acquisition of CP Ships by Hapag-Lloyd, plans are set for the first in a series of service rationalizations: the combining of services between the West Mediterranean, the US East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico from February 2006. "Thanks to the integration of the two hitherto independent services, we can significantly improve the product for our customers and also achieve the benefits of rationalization," commented Tony Firmin, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Container Line, on the reorganization of the links between the West Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico, which will be effective from February 2006. This planned service improvement was expedited by the acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd by Maersk and the subsequent changes in previous joint ventures. The service, which will use the established name "Mediterranean Gulf Express", will offer weekly departures in future with a total of six ships each of 3,000 TEU capacity. Ports of call will be: Malta, Cagliari/Gioia Tauro, Livorno, Genoa, Barcelona, Valencia, Veracruz, Altamira, Houston, New Orleans, San Juan and Malta again. The rationalization will not affect the cooperation with ZIM Lines. Hapag-Lloyd will thereby obtain access to direct shipments with the ZCS service, calling at Haifa, Piraeus, Livorno, Barcelona, New York and Savannah. The cooperation with CMA-CGM, however, is being discontinued.