Mega-Alliances on Asia-Europe Routes Still 10% Below Required Capacity

Container mega alliances with 10% blank sailings in Asia-Europe trade

Mega-Alliances on Asia-Europe Routes Still 10% Below Required Capacity

Despite the addition of 1.14 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) of new capacity this year, the three major shipping alliances are still short by 36 vessels to fully operate their 25 Asia-Europe loops as of May 10. The average ship size on this route is currently 14,150 TEU, meaning an extra 509,400 slots are needed to meet the weekly sailing requirements, representing a shortfall of 9.6% of the total necessary capacity.

Alphaliner reports that 376 ships are required for these 25 loops, an increase from 321 ships for 27 loops the previous year. The additional ships are necessary because 24 loops are being rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope due to the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea. The CMA CGM-operated ‘BEX2’ service is currently the only one transiting through the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal after its recent reinstatement.

The closure of the Ocean Alliance’s third Asia-North Europe loop (‘LL3’ and ‘AEU7’) has freed up twelve ships, while the suspension of the ‘FE5’ loop in November 2023 released another ten. Compared to May 2023, alliance members now need an additional 77 vessels due to the rerouting to avoid attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

As of May 10, Alphaliner counted 340 container ships operating in the Asia-Europe services of the Ocean Alliance, the 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement, and THE Alliance, resulting in an average of 9.6% of weekly sailings being skipped. The Ocean Alliance faces the biggest challenge, needing 20 more ships to reach the required 140 vessels.

Rerouting via the Cape of Good Hope has also led to a shift in capacity within the Ocean Alliance fleet. COSCO and Evergreen have moved megamax vessels from North European loops to their joint Asia Med service, impacting the Far East-North Europe ‘CES’ service, which is currently operating with only eight out of fourteen needed vessels.

In contrast, carriers like ONE and Hapag-Lloyd, which have received new tonnage, are in a better position. THE Alliance has 102 ships operating between Asia and Europe, with only an 8-ship (7%) shortfall. Hapag-Lloyd is adding new 23,664 TEU ships to its ‘FE3’ fleet, allowing other vessels to return to their previous routes. MSC’s fleet expansion has kept the 2M VSA-fleet almost complete and fully staffed its standalone Far East-North Europe ‘Swan’ and Asia-Med ‘Dragon’ loops.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.