Nearing peak season for container shipping, there are particularly concerning signs about the important shipping route, writes Seaintel, which also points out several possibilities for mitigating the situation.
Capacity on Asia-Europe will increase significantly in coming years, with a 13-percent rise in the fourth quarter 2017 alone. Carriers are forced to cancel sailings to avoid tipping the balance, writes SeaIntel. Otherwise they could see an end to the high rates currently experienced by the industry.
The container sector's main tradelane from Asia to North Europe is being serviced by ever-larger vessels. The 2M alliance with Maersk Line and MSC is at the forefront of this trend in which the biggest container vessels are deployed on Asia-Europe, forcing the already large vessels down onto the smaller trades, notes SeaIntel.
Spot rates on the key container tradelane Asia-Europe took a big dive last week, according to a survey from Drewry. The firm expects the rates to keep sliding as there is by now more space available for shippers.
2017 has already been hailed by Maersk Line and several of its biggest competitors as the year in which the miserable results from last year will be replaced by a de-facto turnaround. Things have developed positively so far, Maersk Line's head of Asia and the Pacific tells ShippingWatch.
The 2M alliance between MSC and Maersk Line will, starting April, increase its capacity on Asia-Europe by 25 percent, and the significant volume expansion could trigger rate disruptions, writes analyst firm Alphaliner in its latest newsletter.
The final months of 2016 brought improvements on the routes from Asia to the east coast of South America. But there is still a long way to go in terms of the activity noted on the routes in the past, writes analyst firm Drewry, warning against excessive optimism.
Spot rates on the 11 major East-West routes between Asia and Europe climbed to a 20-month high this week, according to Drewry's World Container Index. Further rate increases are expected in the week to come.
International container carriers have to a large extent picked up Hanjin Shipping's market shares on the key Asia-US routes. This applies to Maersk Line and MSC's 2M alliance and Chinese Cosco, in particular, according to data from Busan Port Authority.
Major container collaboration Ocean Alliance announced its service network on Thursday, which includes 40 services on the key east-west trades. CMA CGM will contribute 35 percent of the alliance's capacity.
Since 2012, the number of weekly services on the Asia - North Europe route has declined by 36 percent, and customers are having an increasingly difficult time keeping up, notes SeaIntel in a new analysis.
For the world's 30 largest container ports, 2016 looks set to be the worst year since the financial crisis in 2009, and growth on major services from the Far East to Europe is hovering at rock bottom, according to Alphaliner's review of recent data on the container sector.
The 2M alliance between Maersk Line and MSC will now target faster transit times and reliability with changes in the partnership's Asia-North Europe network. The move looks like a response to the new major container collaboration The Alliance, notes Drewry.
Asian ports have less work to do. South Korea's ports handled 1.2 percent fewer goods relative to the same period last year, while year-on-year growth rates in China's largest ports declined by 4.2 percent to 1.4 percent.
De asiatiske havne har fået mindre at lave. Koreas havne omsatte 1,2 pct. mindre gods i forhold samme periode sidste år, imens år-til-år vækstraterne i Kinas største havne er faldet fra 4,2 pct. til 1,4 pct.
Maersk’s container business in Asia has picked up market shares thanks to, among other elements, the launch of a new direct route to the Gulf of Mexico. In the current market, it is extremely important to keep one's eyes open for small pockets that hold opportunities, Maersk Line's new Head of Asia tells ShippingWatch.
The container carrier finished the first quarter with a profit of USD 37 million. The Maersk Group as a whole delivered an underlying result of USD 214 million against USD 1.3 billion in the same period last year.
In spite of the major crisis among container carriers across the globe, the carriers have been unable to raise the price of transporting a twenty-foot container on the key route Asia-Europe for two months.
Shippers can currently transport a 20-foot container from the Far East to North Europe for about USD 100. This is how low some shipowners are willing to go in order to fill up vessels, Alphaliner writes.