Extra loaders deployed on bouyant transpacific

The belated bullrun on the transpacific has seen Maersk add a couple of extra loaders to make the most of the uptick with other carriers expected to add more capacity in the coming weeks.

Alphaliner is reporting the 3,421 teu Matar N has been sent on a trip from Yantian to the US East Coast, while the 5,078 teu Dol-Phin II sets off today from Yantian to the US West Coast.

“More extra loaders are expected to be announced in the coming weeks by various carriers, encouraged by both the higher freight rates as well as to ensure service recovery after recent weather delays at Chinese ports have also disrupted carriers’ schedules,” Alphaliner commented in its most recent weekly report.

Commenting on the news, Andy Lane from CTI Consultancy suggested the current rise in transpacific business was down to the threat of a trade war between the US and China.

“I half suspect – without too much evidence – that talk of tariffs might have caused a pre-tariff rush and that US inventories might presently be rather high – or at least higher than this time last year,” Lane told Splash, adding: “That might lead of a softening of demand as Q3 proceeds, or a slightly earlier finish to the peak season than might be expected. If correct with this, rates will soften before we hit October, as load-factors will drop.”

For the tariffs themselves, Lane reckoned it might not be until 2019 before containerlines see a tangible impact.

The FreightOS Baltic Index (China to North America West Coast) rose to $2,082 this week, while rates from China to North America East Coast climbed to $3,245.

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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