The dire state of freight rates on the Asia-Europe container tradelanes has seen a giant 18,000 teu laid up, Alphaliner reports.
The French box analysts note that the laid-up capacity of liners will top the 1m teu mark this winter, the highest level since the onset of the financial crisis.
Among the 263 idled boxships (totalling 934,700 teu) at the moment, 23 are of 7,500 or more and one of them is a Maersk EEE 18,000 teu vessel, which is in hot layup for six weeks thanks to the number of blanked sailings on 2M’s Asia-Europe schedules. 2M is the alliance between Maersk and MSC.
Alphaliner noted the layup of such a huge ship showed just how severe trading conditions are on the key east-west tradelane. Carriers try to keep their largest, most expensive ships trading at all times.
Maersk Group last week issued a profit warning, slashing its containerline’s full year forecasts by $600m. Asia-Europe trades account for 40% of Maersk Line’s business.
Commenting on the EEE layup, Lars Jensen from SeaIntel, told Splash: “It is an indication of the severity of the challenges the industry is currently facing in terms of overcapacity, especially in the Asia-Europe trade where negative demand growth has wrecked havoc with the phase-in of the new generation of ultra-large containerships. Unless the situation changes, it would not be surprising to see more short-term idling until the pre-Chinese New Year rush.”