Capacity boost coming to Asia/Europe
The Asia/Europe trade could see an influx of capacity over the next few weeks, according to the maritime news service Alphaliner.
'These moves will ease the capacity crunch on the Far East-to-Europe market, which the trade has been facing since late December, following a strong recovery of demand figures,' Alphaliner said in its Monday newsletter. 'The additional capacity could reverse the trend of rising freight rates observed since the fourth quarter of 2009.'
Alphaliner said trade growth on the Asia/Europe lane could grow as much as 10 percent in 2010, after falling 14.9 percent westbound in 2009.
The primary driver of added capacity is reintroduction of services suspended over the winter, such as the Grand and New World alliances' Loop D/CEX service to northern Europe. That service is to be activated March 23 and adds 6,000 TEUs of capacity per week, bringing the number of Asia/Europe loops for the alliances to four apiece. For the Grand Alliance, Loop D will replace its EU4 service, which was halted in December.
On a side note, Alphaliner is predicting that The Containership Company, the startup line that in April will commence a transpacific service between Taicang and Los Angeles, will find it difficult to find vessels for a similar service from Asia to northern Europe.
Franck Kayser, managing director of The Containership Company, told American Shipper in February the company is eyeing such a service later this year.
'The carrier will find it increasingly difficult to put together a service to North Europe given the foreseeable scarce availability of suitable tonnage over the coming three months,' Alphaliner said. 'The proposed service is expected to need at least eight units averaging 4,000 TEUs. The recovery in charter rates for the larger vessel sizes is expected to continue as demand picks up, rendering the TCC project less rewarding than it would have been if the ships had been chartered a few weeks earlier.
'Although there is still significant idle capacity, with over 100 ships of 3,000 TEUs and above currently without employment, a large part of these are carrier controlled, and many of the vessels are due to reenter the market in the next few months. The remaining ships in this segment are elderly vessels which are more suitable for employment on regional or feeder trades, rather than long-haul services.' ' Eric Johnson