The mid-sized niche carriers have seen a 12.8% increase in deployed capacity during the first six months of 2017, market intelligence provider SeaIntel Maritime Analysis informed.
An analysis of capacity injections over the period showed that this segment, consisting of the 21st-40th largest shipping lines, was primarily driven by a growth in the number of operated vessels, rather than an upsizing of vessels.
“This additional vessel deployment can only have been driven by a desire to launch additional new services,” SeaIntel said.
The global alliance carriers expanded their capacity by 5.4%, which is not far out of line with the demand growth projected for the period. However, the major niche carriers have not been expanding deployed capacity, nor have the niche carriers in the segment ranked 41-60.
The development seen in the past 6 months “signals a strong growth ambition” among the mid-sized niche carriers. SeaIntel added that it “remains to be seen how this will play out in terms of the competitive pressure, and how the capacity injection will impact not just their own segment, but also the other niche carrier segments.”
“Even in the niche trades some degree of scale does matter – not only in terms of vessel size, but more importantly in the granularity of services offered. We should therefore prepare for a gradual consolidation development among the niche carriers in the coming years as well,” Alan Murphy, SeaIntel CEO, said.