Capacity decrease trend in Asia – North America container allocation

Container Charter Market Shows Resilience Amidst Challenges

Abrupt decrease in the Asia –  North America slots for exporters. according to Alphaliner, an average weekly allocation of 516,160 TEU on a weekly basis, represents a decrease of 23,3% in relation to 2022. Regarding fleet size, a total decrease from 674 ships (5.56 Mteu) in 2022 to 524 container ships (4,86 Mteu), according to Alphaliner.

Despite that the reduction of the fleet size is just 12,6%, shipping lines are deploying more ships on longer Asia – US East Coast routes while more ships are needed to cover the same weekly capacity than on Far east – US West Coast.

Particularly, MSC has been the carrier to remove most of the capacity. Adding to the latter, the carriers that entered the service during the booming COVID pandemic (CULines, Sea lead, Pasha, Transfer, TS Lines, BAL and Jin Jang shipping) have already removed their participation, representing 138,800 TEU (2,5% of the total fleet) according to Alphaliner.

Contrary, not all carriers have decreased their capacity in the Asia – North America services. ZIM, the Israeli based shipping liner placed its recently delivered 12,000 – 15,000 TEU class chips on the Far East – USEC ‘ZCP’ Loop. Representing an increase of 21,3% compared to last year.

Additional carriers have added capacity: ONE (6,7%) and Yang Ming (22,2%) due to reshuffling of THE Alliance fleet replacing ships provided by Hapag Lloyd ( -16.2%) and HMM (-24,8%). Overall, the capacity of THE Alliance between Asia – North America services decreased -2,9%.

Regarding 2M: Maersk, MSC and ZIM (for USEC) reduced their joint offering by 7,2%. Particularly, MSC (-35,4%) and Maersk (-18,9%) due to the finalization of standalone loops launched during the COVID-19 pandemic booming market.

Regardless of the closure of various services, MSC still deploys more capacity in standalone loops that in 2M services. Thus, making MSC the largest carrier on the trade offering non-alliance services with a fleet double the size of the number two, Wan Hai Lines.

In the case of Wan Hai Lines, similarly to ZIM, it has taken delivery of five 13,000 teu newbuildings entering the market after the booming. nevertheless, it managed to reduce its fleet on the trade by 33% by closing loops and only keeping one USWC and one USEC.

Generally, the role of mega alliances has increased again, specifically the OCEAN Alliance(CMA CGM, COSCO, and Evergreen) gathering 37,1% of the market share of capacity between Asia and North America.

Alphaliners’ trade review confirms that ongoing trend that more Asia – North America cargo is being routed via ports on the US East Coast. Represented by the capacity reduction in the ECNA services of 1,2%, which is insignificant to the overall capacity reduction to the US and Canada West Coast decrease of 22,6%.

Further analysis determines that the fleet size regarding each service is WCNA (47%) and ECNA (53%). Rounting via the Panama Canal remains the top choice for fronthaul from Asia to East coast compared to routing via the Suez Canal. Nonetheless, for the return leg from NA to Asia, numerous services follow a round-the-world  pattern, via the Suez Canal.

Fuente: Alphaliner

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