Singapore’s Pacific International Lines (PIL) will exit the Asia – North Europe tradelane in April, Alphaliner reports. Best known for its intra-Asia presence PIL, owned by the Teo family, has had a presence on the Asia-Europe trades for the past 15 years initially with its own ships in partnership with Wan Hai before seeking out slot charters. It currently covers the trade through slots from Cosco on the Ocean Alliance’s NEU3/AEU7 service.
The outlook for Asia-Europe trades has clouded in recent months. Yesterday, Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at shipowning body BIMCO, warned in market report that European containerised imports look likely to be stuck with demand growth of no more than 2% for years to come. Sand said the long-hauls into northern and southern Europe, where ultra large containerships are best suited to reap the benefits of economies of scale, will suffer unless cascading is accelerated.
“This gloomy outlook seems certain for 2019 and is likely to be extended,” Sand warned.
Yesterday, Splash reported Danish carrier Maersk is blanking another Asia-Europe service, pulling the Estelle Maersk from a planned departure from China on March 2 on the AE2 service it operates with MSC. The cancellation is on top of the carrier’s already communicated Chinese New Year blank sailings. Maersk cited “seasonal market demand reductions” for the cancellation.