Carriers hurl extra capacity on booming transpacific tradelane

As the boom on the transpacific continues, carriers are deploying more and more capacity.

Rates to the US West Coast have risen by 93% since June from $1,194 per feu to $2,298 per feu,

while rates to the US East Coast have increased by 60% from $2,181 per feu to $3,485 per feu according to the latest SCFI assessment

Alphaliner is reporting HMM is swapping three 6,350 teu ships for larger 8,566 teu ships for a west coast service while CMA CGM is also adding two high capacity extra loaders in September. The 9,953 teu CMA CGM Butterfly will head to the west coast, while the 8,465 teu CMA CGM Melisande is headed to the US Gulf.

Maersk is also adding more extra loaders, with the 5,042 teu CSL

Santa Maria making an ad-hoc west coast trip, followed by the 5,018 teu Kowloon Bay on the same rotation. They follow two extra loaders deployed by Maersk in August.

Evergreen is also introducing larger tonnage on the transpacific with the 11,037 teu Cape Akritas replacing an 8,507 teu ship to the west coast.

“The space shortage on the transpacific route comes on the back of the closure of three FE-USWC services and one FE-USEC service since June during the traditional peak summer shipping season,” Alphaliner noted in its most recent weekly report.

Commenting on the current transpacific bull run, Lars Jensen from SeaIntelligence Consulting, mused on LinkedIn earlier this week that the main element to watch for now in the transpacific is whether the carriers will maintain a steady hand focused on market stability or whether the “opportunists” will once more gain the upper hand and inject capacity to capitalise on the strength and in the process ignite a new price war.

“Presently the indicator points to the more stable approach with added peak capacity being in the form of extra-loaders rather than new permanent services,” Jensen suggested.

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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