Ocean carriers are adding capacity on the Far East-Europe route even as trade growth weakens and ship utilization levels continue to fall, according to container market analyst Alphaliner.
Evergreen and Hanjin Shipping are the latest to boost capacity with the launch this week of their joint CEM/CUS service between Asia and North Europe, which is deploying nine 8,450-10,100 20-foot equivalent units ships.
The new service, running initially on a 10-week rotation, will swell weekly capacity on the route by about 9,160 TEUs, according to Alphaliner. The Asian carriers have the option to return to a nine-week rotation after China’s Golden Week holidays in October or add an additional vessel to the service at a later stage.
Carriers are introducing new services despite the fact that total Far East-Europe demand has fallen by 2.1 percent in the first half of the year, according to latest figures from Container Trades Statistics, and vessel utilization levels dropped to a year-to-date low of 79 percent in June.
Alphaliner said it expects full year demand to shrink by 3.6 percent “with no significant pickup in demand expected for the July-September peak season.”
The Journal of Commerce Online