MOL PREDICTS SUSTAINED SHIP LOAD FACTORS ON EASTBOUND PACIFIC
High vessel utilization in the eastbound transpacific container trade will continue until the year 2005, Japan’s MOL group predicted in an upbeat report on the east/west container trades.
During the period until the end of 2005, steady cargo growth will have a positive effect, “offsetting the large delivery of new tonnage and keeping vessel utilization at the current high level,” MOL said.
Another significant factor will be the withdrawal of some container services during the slack winter season, the report added.
For the forthcoming 2003 slack season, at least three of the largest carrier groups in the transpacific container trade are cutting capacity: Maersk Sealand, the New World Alliance of MOL, APL and Hyundai Merchant Marine, and the Grand Alliance of Hapag-Lloyd, NYK Line, OOCL and P&O Nedlloyd. The COSCO/”K” Line/Yangming/Hanjin alliance is also expected to cancel individual sailings after Chinese New Year in February.
MOL forecast a growth rate of 6 percent in 2003 in eastbound transpacific cargo volumes, followed by “more than 5 percent annually” in 2004 and 2005. In the North America-to-Asia westbound trade, cargo volume growth is predicted to amount to 5 to 9 percent a year.
MOL also expects seasonal variations in transpacific ship utilization, with higher load vessels achieved in the third quarter of every year, and lower levels in the first quarter.
On the Asia/Europe route, volumes should rise by 3 to 5 percent as year westbound and 5 to 9 percent a year eastbound, according to the report.
Subject to a global economic recovery, the container shipping market will improve by 2005, the report noted. “However, the unpredictable long-term effect on the world economies of recent terrorist events and the Iraqi situation adds a great deal of uncertainty to these projections,” MOL warned.