Greater China

Gloomy outlook for Asia-Europe box trades: Alphaliner

Paris: Painting a gloomy picture for the start of the Year of the Water Snake French container analysts Alphaliner reckon overcapacity in the Asia-Europe trades is here to stay.

"Far East-Europe freight rates are expected to come under pressure after the Lunar New Year, which falls on 10 February this year," Alphaliner noted in its latest weekly report. With demand expected to fall sharply following the holidays in most parts of the Asia, carriers are planning to cancel at least 15 sailings in Weeks 7 and 8. Weekly capacity is expected to be reduced by 20% and 47% respectively in the two affected weeks, based on Alphaliner's survey of carriers' schedules.

However, with regular weekly sailings to resume in March, the demand and supply balance on the trade is expected to weaken further, the French firm predicted.

In a stark warning to liners with heavy exposure to this tradelane, Alphaliner wrote: "Excess capacity continues to be the main challenge for carriers on the [Asia]-Europe route". 51 vessels of over 10,000 teu are due to be delivered in 2013, with the vast majority of these ships planned for Asia-Europe trades.

In a sign of the likely tough times ahead Asia-North Europe forward rates on the Shanghai Shipping Exchange for the first half of 2013 are trending below current spot rates.  [23/01/13]

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