90% of boxships on Asia-Europe set to be above 14,000 teu in capacity by 2020

Six years ago only 5% of the container vessels deployed on the Asia-Europe tradelane had a capacity in excess of 14,000 teu. Since then this number has grown nine-fold to 45% today. Copenhagen-based boxwatchers SeaIntel are now predicting that by 2020 almost 90% of all ships on this key route will be larger than 14,000 teu as a slew of 18,000 to 22,000 teu ships deliver from yards in Asia.

SeaIntel predicts liners will have to continue to slash weekly services on Asia-Europe in the coming three years unless there is an unexpected sustained surge in demand.

SeaIntel reckons carriers will need to make a strategic choice – mimic each other’s services and further drive commoditisation, or try to have unique direct port-port combinations the other alliances do not have. This could involve using 10,000 to 14,000 teu ships, SeaIntel posited, for greater product diversification, albeit at higher operational unit costs.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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