Capacity has been added across the board on the main Asia-Europe and Asia-North America routes by main carriers as they ready to launch new networks on the key East-West container routes next month, Alphaliner’s preliminary data shows.
Capacity gaps resulting from the departure of Hanjin Shipping in 2016 will be fully compensated by the new services, with all of the main trades showing capacity increases based on a comparison of total planned capacity in June this year compared to a year ago, Alphaliner said.
The most “hotly contested” route will be the Asia-West Coast North America (WCNA) trade where six independent shipping companies will compete against the three rival alliances.
A total of 38 weekly services connecting Asia to WCNA are planned, similar to last year, but with total weekly capacity expected to increase by 4.9% year-on-year (YOY) due to the deployment of larger ships on some of the new services.
The independent carriers’ share on the Asia-WCNA route is expected to reach 17% with eight weekly services offered including three by Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), two loops jointly operated by Pacific International Lines (PIL) and Wan Hai Lines (together with COSCO) as well as three single loops offered each by Matson, SM Line and Zim Integrated Shipping Services (ZIM).
Alliances on the Asia-WCNA route will include the OCEAN Alliance, the 2M alliance and THE Alliance, with 14, 5 and 11 weekly sailings, respectively.
Freight rates on this route could come under significant downward pressure in the next two months as carriers jostle for market share, according to Alphaliner.
On the Asia-East Coast North America (ECNA) trade, a total of 19 weekly sailings are planned, according to Alphaliner’s data. Total weekly capacity on this route is expected to rise by 2.1% YOY.
Apart from the three abovementioned alliances offering their services on the Asia-ECNA route, ZIM as an independent carrier will provide two weekly sailings on this trade.
The three alliances will dominate the third trade which connects Asia to North Europe. A total of 17 weekly sailings will be offered by the alliances on this route. The route will have no non-alliance sailings, data released by Alphaliner shows.
Alphaliner predicts that total weekly capacity on Asia-North Europe trade will increase by 3.8% YOY.
Finally, the Asia-Mediterranean route will have a total of 13 weekly sailings. Capacity increase on this route will be 1.2% YOY, according to Alphaliner.
ZIM will be the only independent carrier present on the Asia-Mediterranean route, offering one weekly sailing.