Port Report: MSC tops mega-ship additions through 2020, but CMA-CGM not far behind

Capacity additions set to have knock-on effect for trades into North America; Australia’s port strike to cause Pacific Rim ripples.

MSC tops mega-ship newbuild ranks

The containership industry largest players are set to get bigger this year thanks to the delivery of new ships. The new ships will primarily add to the supply in the trade lane between Asia and Europe, but North American ocean shipping markets could also see a knock-on effect as other vessels get shunted into that market. Already the largest of the three major shipping alliances, 2M Alliance will see one of the biggest capacity additions in the mega-containership class. 2M member Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is set to take delivery of 11 containerships of the 22,000 twenty-foot equivalent (teu) capacity, among the largest sizes in the industry, according to Paul Richardson, editor of PR News Service, which tracks the container industry.

“For 2019, MSC is the one to watch,” Richardson said. MSC’s main partner in the 2M Alliance, Maersk, which has been vocal about reining in capacity increases, is expected to only add three ships this year, two in the 15,000-teu range and one in the 20,500-teu range. The next largest by capacity, Ocean Alliance, will also get big capacity injections over the next two years. First, alliance member, Cosco Shipping Lines, is expected to take delivery of two 19,000-teu ships this year and four 21,000-teu ships. Its alliance partner, CMA CGM, is scheduled to receive nine ships in the 20,000-teu range by 2020. Those ships will likely serve routes between Asia and Northern and Southern Europe. But those new ships will mean a “cascade” of smaller ships going over to the Asia-North America trade routes. Those newbuild ships “will free up capacity of 14,000-teu to 16,000-teu ships that are presently on the Asia-to-Europe trade, and whatever is left would drift across to the U.S.” The containership industry has faced a capacity glut over the past three years which forced ocean shipping rates down to uneconomic levels, but Richardson says the new supply coming on should not overwhelm the market. “This is not some crazy time when shipowners are over ordering,” he said.  


Evergreen Line looks to South American market 

Taiwanese carrier looks to boost fresh produce trade to Asia. (Transport Weekly)

Cosco gets mega-ship berths in Singapore

Deal with Singapore’s main ports operator adds two new docking sites. (Vessel Finder)

China cut back on U.S. crude oil purchases

Tanker loadings to Far East fell as trade war loomed. (Lloyd’s List)

Ocean Alliance extends partnership to 2027

Extended agreement comes along with new service. (Shipping and Freight Resource)

Port of Hamburg readies for Brexit

German port readies customs checks when U.K. leaves. (World Maritime News)

Australia’s dock strikes to hit trade 

As FreightWaves’ Jim Wilson reports, two of Australia’s big marine terminals are facing strikes by longshoremen and “causing landside logistical chaos.” Hutchison Ports Australia, part of the Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports Group, is being targeted at its Sydney and Brisbane terminals. The two terminals have only 6 percent market share in Australia, but “importers, exporters and landside logistics operators are going to suffer through poor service,” said one logistics executive. The affects of the strike could hit Australia’s trading partners through the Pacific Rim, with China, the U.S. and Japan being the top three. As to how long the strike will last, a representative for the dockworker’s union says the two sides are “not close” to reaching a deal.

Show More

Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.