The biggest carriers would rather cancel a large number of sailings in the coming months than pull capacity out of the market. Carriers hesitate to withdraw excess capacity and shutting down routes, as it remains unknown how the ships in the announced P3 alliance will operate, which means there is still no way of knowing what the final capacity will look like, according to Drewry.
Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM have so far only announced how the alliance expects to sail from the 2nd quarter 2014, but the final routes and ports involved won't be revealed before the 4th quarter this year.
"More sailing cancellations are on the way as the P3 alliance has yet to spell out its intentions in any detail, and competitors will be loath to risk losing market share by taking more radical capacity reduction measures in the interim," says Drewry.
Maersk Line and its competitors are struggling with weak demand and overcapacity, particularly on the routes from Asia to Europe, developments which have repeatedly pushed the freight dates down to rock bottom.
Most analysts and market players agree that the market won't rebound till the carriers perform significant capacity reductions, as demand is unlikely to increase in light of the weak global economy.