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Red Sea Diversions Leave Asia-Europe Loops Short of Ships

The Loadstar
Total Views: 461
May 16, 2024

By Gavin van Marle (The Loadstar) –

Despite the large tranches of new container shipping capacity hitting the water in recent months, Asia-Europe services are still short of ships to the tune of almost 10%, according to new research from Alphaliner.

The analyst said that as a result of the Red Sea crisis and diversion of vessels around the Cape of Good Hope, the number of ships needed to maintain weekly service frequency from Asia to Europe had risen from the 321 needed for the 27 services offered this time last year, to 376 required to operate the current 25 services.

However, there are just 340 ships deployed on Asia-Europe services by the three alliances, leaving a shortfall of some 36 on the trades to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

“Taking into account that the average vessel size on this trade stands at 14,150 teu, some 509,400 extra slots are still needed,” said Alphaliner today. “This represents 9.6% of the capacity required to guarantee weekly sailings for all alliance loops.”

It noted there was some disparity between the groups’ vessel-sharing agreements, with the Ocean Alliance carriers most exposed to capacity limitations.

“The Ocean Alliance members face the biggest challenge to find sufficient ships, as they are deploying 120 vessels but need an additional 20 (or 14% of the required number of ships),” Alphaliner said.

It added that part of the problem for Ocean members CMA CGM, Cosco, Evergreen and OOCL was maintaining services into the eastern Med, with Piraeus a key regional hub.

“One of the consequences of sending ships via the Cape of Good Hope is that services from Asia to North Europe no longer make wayport calls at Mediterranean ports.

“This has led to a capacity shift within the Ocean Alliance fleet, as both Cosco and Evergreen have moved megamax vessels from North European loops to their joint Asia-Mediterranean AEM1/MD2 service, which now carries large volumes from the Far East to Piraeus.

These megamaxes are partly removed from the Evergreen-operated Far East–North Europe CES service, (aka the seventh OAL Asia-North Europe loop). This service is already understaffed, with only eight out of the 14 vessels needed available,” Alphaliner explained.

It said the situation was better for the 2M and THE Alliance: MSC and Maersk currently require eight vessels to make up full the complement of 126 ships for their joint services, and THEA also requires eight vessels to add to the 110m already deployed.

The Loadstar is known at the highest levels of logistics and supply chain management as one of the best sources of influential analysis and commentary.

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