MSC represents 50% of the Asia-Europe Trade growth

MSC represents 50% of the Asia-Europe Trade growth

In the landscape of container shipping between Asia and Europe, MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) significant growth in fleet capacity. Recent data reveals that MSC has been instrumental in driving 50% of the fleet expansion in this crucial trade route, according to Alphaliner.

MSC represents 50% of the Asia-Europe Trade growth
MSC represents 50% of the Asia-Europe Trade growth (Source: Alphaliner)


As of February, there were 431 container vessels plying between Asia and Europe, boasting a combined capacity of 6.33 million twenty-foot equivalent units (Mteu), constituting 22% of the cellular container fleet. Over the past year, the Asia-Europe fleet has experienced a remarkable 19% surge in capacity.

The surge in capacity is primarily attributed to the crisis in the Red Sea, necessitating the diversion of shipping routes via the Cape of Good Hope. To maintain weekly sailing frequencies across various loops, additional vessels are required. However, not all required ships have been deployed, with carriers acquiring newbuildings having an advantage in sustaining regular sailing schedules and expanding their market share.

MSC stands out with a remarkable 54% growth in its fleet serving the Asia-North Europe and Mediterranean routes. The Geneva-based carrier has added a staggering 488,000 extra teu slots, nearly half of the overall 1 Mteu capacity increase since February 2023. With a commanding market share of 22.1%, MSC has surpassed Maersk, which now holds 15.8%.

In addition to reinforcing its presence within the 2M fleet with a contribution of 279,000 teu, MSC now operates 208,500 teu of capacity in standalone loops, such as the Far East-Med ‘Dragon’ loop and Far East-North Europe-Baltic ‘Swan’ service. This growth has propelled the 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement with Maersk to become the largest mega-alliance on the trade, capturing 33.4% of the market share.

Conversely, the Ocean Alliance’s market share has dwindled to 33%, down from 37.5% in February 2023. CMA CGM, COSCO SHIPPING, OOCL, and Evergreen have struggled to integrate newbuildings and fully staff all their Asia-Europe loops. THE Alliance’s market share has also declined following the suspension of the Southeast Asia-North Europe ‘FE5’ loop, now accounting for 23.3% of the total Asia-Europe fleet.

Yang Ming’s fleet experienced a 30% reduction due to the suspension of the ‘FE5’ loop, while ONE witnessed growth, buoyed by the introduction of six new 24,136 teu megamax ships. This reshuffle within THE Alliance prompted Hapag-Lloyd to reallocate some vessels to other East-West routes.

Although several newcomers have entered the Asia-Europe trade, many have vanished, with Tailwind Shipping Lines being a notable exception. However, fresh entrants have emerged to transport Asian export cargo to the East Med (Black Sea) and the Russian port of Saint Petersburg in the Baltic.

Source: Alphaliner

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