The current and extremely low spot rates on container routes between especially Asia and Europe, and to some extent on Asia-South America trades as well, are completely unsustainable for everyone in the industry. To imagine that these rates will remain at this level is highly unrealistic, says Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen.
"On the routes between Asia and Europe in particular we have experienced a very unusual combination. On the one hand, a high number of new ships have been deployed this year, which was expected. But the main reason that we find ourselves in such severe difficulties on Asia-Europe is the weak demand. In early 2015 everyone expected a growth in demand of around five percent, but in reality demand has dropped 3-4 percent, and this is a colossal difference on a route where several hundred thousands containers are shipped every week," explained Rolf Habben Jansen at an investors' conference following publication of the carrier's half-year result.