New entrants eye US East Coast in wake of ZIM’s 2M move

In the wake of ZIM’s landmark signing with MSC and Maersk from Asia to the US East Coast could this container tradelane be set for new entrants? News last week that the Israeli carrier has signed with the 2M partners has dominated headlines in recent days and occupied the first four pages of the latest weekly report from Alphaliner.

The strategic cooperation, set to run for an initial four years, will see the removal of two strings on the tradelane, equivalent to a 5.2% reduction in total Asia – US East Coast weekly nominal capacity from 161,700 teu as at July 2018 to 153,300 teu in September, according to Alphaliner data.

The total number of weekly Asia – US East Coast services will fall to only 17 in September 2018, compared to a high of 25 strings in 2015. However, the average size of containerships deployed will exceed 9,000 teu, compared to only 5,750 teu in 2015.

“Current capacity utilisation on the trade is running at over 95% and this may pave the way for the entry of new carriers on this route. SM Line and PIL have both stated previously that they were planning to enter the FE-USEC trade to complement their existing FE-USWC presence,” Alphaliner mused in its latest report.

The analysts also suggested South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) would reenter the tradelane with its own ships once its current agreement with Maersk and MSC expires in April 2020.

In an exclusive interview with Splash yesterday, ZIM CEO Eli Glickman, speaking from Chicago, explained the rationale for the line signing up with 2M. “Maersk and MSC came to this strategic partnership because they saw the value we could add,” Glickman said. The full interview with the ZIM boss will run on Splash tomorrow.

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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