Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

feedburner count

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Boxship lay-ups continue but numbers may start to level out

Janet Porter - Wednesday 20 May 2009


LOCH Striven in Scotland is the latest destination for idle boxships, with the 4,200 teu UK-flagged Maersk Bentonville reported to be on its way there as lines continue to remove surplus tonnage from service.
Latest figures from Lloyd’s MIU’s Inactive Vessel Report show that 537 fully cellular containerships are currently idle, representing 11.4% of the fleet by number.
This figure may start to level out, with Maersk Broker saying today that the size of the inactive fleet was likely to remain fairly constant over the next few weeks.
Even so, industry sources note that with a considerable amount of capacity due for delivery from the yards, and many ships coming to the end of their charters in the next few months, the number of unemployed vessels could eventually go up again. Further, there is the uncertainty over the future of Chilean line CSAV.
More immediately, ocean carriers have announced several service rationalisations over the past few days in the face of weak cargo prospects and depressed freight rates, with tonnage being removed from both the Asia-Europe and transpacific trades.
Mediterranean Shipping Co will withdraw its Asia-Mediterranean Jade service as part of a wider network shake-up ahead of the delivery of more 14,000 teu newbuildings over the next few weeks.
The world’s second largest container line said the rationalisation would help to reduce surplus capacity and bring supply closer into line with anticipated cargo volumes.
Meanwhile, the Grand Alliance said today that it was merging its transpacific Japan China Express and South China Sea Express loops from next week.
Consortium members Hapag-Lloyd, NYK and OOCL will combine the two into a single loop, starting with a sailing from Thailand on Monday.
Customers will be offered the same port coverage options under the new service, the trio said, with one additional vessel of 6,200 teu to be added on the revised SCX rotation that will cover Japanese ports in future.
Kaohsiung will be transferred to the Super Shuttle Express service on the transpacific eastbound call, while the westbound call on SCX will remain unchanged.
Port rotation for the reconfigured SCX service will be Laem Chabang, Singapore, Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo, Sendai, Los Angeles, Oakland, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Kaohsiung, Shekou and Laem Chabang.
MSC’s Jade service, operated with vessels of between 6,700 teu and 13,800 teu, will be phased out and cargo bound for the east and west Mediterranean switched to its Silk, Lion, Dragon and Tiger services.
In future, the Silk service will deploy 11 ships of between 11,000 teu and 14,000 teu, rather than 10 at present.
The Lion service will be operated with 10 ships of 9,200 teu capacity, while the Dragon loop will have 11 ships of 8,400 teu capacity.
Ten vessels of 8,200 teu will be deployed in the revised Tiger rotation, that will call at Qingdao, Pusan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Singapore, Beirut, Piraeus, Istanbul, Gioia Tauro, Jeddah, Jebel Ali, Singapore and Qingdao, with a Suez transit each way.
This latest move coincides with revised figures from the European Liner Affairs Association showing that westbound Asia-Europe volumes fell 22% in the first quarter to 2.6m teu, with liftings down 32% in February and 17% in March.
Eastbound volumes shrank 17% in the opening three months of the year to 1.1m teu.