A group of international shipping firms have announced they will slash freight services between Brisbane, New Zealand and north-east Asia with immediate effect due to the economic recession.

German operator Hamburg Süd, Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Mitsui OSK Lines, and Chinese vessel operator COSCON have made a joint decision to cut services but plan to combine certain lines to create a weekly fixed-day service.

The weekly services will provide extended port services in both Australia and New Zealand, the companies said.

The four firms will supply six vessels to provide services along the new route.

The consortium will provide a peak season extra loader programme that will assure all refrigerated trade volumes are sufficiently accommodated.