CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero MAGGIO 2020
GROWING DEMAND FOR SPACE PUSHES CARRIERS TO REINSTATE BLANKED
As demand for container shipping appears set to increase, the
top priority for shippers is securing space on vessels and container
equipment, according to a new survey of European Shippers' Council
The survey, conducted in conjunction with Drewry Supply Chain
Advisors, also found shippers were becoming increasing nervous about
the financial position of their transport providers.
Philip Damas, head of the logistics practice at Drewry, said:
"These are key factors of carrier and forwarder selection,
particularly in today's disrupted market, but also in the next year
as, and when, ocean-borne volumes recover."
Clearly, part of the concern is the dramatic cuts in capacity
since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with hundreds of
sailings across the main east-west and larger north-south trades
blanked, often at short notice of four-to-six weeks.
Despite the drop in volumes, blanked sailings meant utilisation
remained high on the vessels that did load - and, according to
SeaIntelligence Consulting, this has meant freight rates on the
major trades are well above last year's levels.
"Carriers have been particularly good at maintaining
freight rates and, net of fuel, spot rates are actually up 25-40% in
some trades compared with 2019. Carriers achieved this through rapid
and hard capacity cuts," SeaIntelligence chief executive Alan
Murphy said earlier this year.
Godfried Smit, secretary general of the European Shippers'
Council, added that the uncertainty short-notice blankings created
was also driving demand for shorter contracts.
"This is a market with volatile capacity, where liners
remain price-setters and keep freight rates high despite very low
fuel indices, while they can only plan in the short term themselves.
"Our view is that shippers will benefit from shorter-term
contracts and either by diversifying their carriers' selection pool
or by concentrating more on financially healthier or
There have been fledgling signs this week of a recovery in
demand on its way, with small capacity additions set for the
transpacific headhaul eastbound trade.
"Unexpectedly strong demand for cargo space on the route
from Asia to the US west coast has prompted carriers to rethink
capacity deployment plans," Alphaliner wrote today. "These
recent reconsiderations follow rationalisation moves that resulted
in a record number of void transpacific sailings in May," it
It said APL was set to increase vessel capacity on its
transpacific EXX service next week, when the 5,100 teu CMA CGM
Georgia will replace a 3,500 teu vessel - last month, the company
phased-in sister vessel CMA CGM Florida on the same service.
Meanwhile, THE Alliance will "reinsert" two sailings
on the transpacific next month with the departure of the PS4
service, linking South China, Taiwan and Los Angeles, now scheduled
for week 24. The service is operated by six Yang Ming vessels of
6,500 teu, according to eeSea data.
The PS5 service, which runs between Shanghai, South Korea and
Los Angeles, will operate a sailing on week 23, with the 8,100 teu
One Competence newly assigned to the string..
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