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CKYHE, G6 carriers to cull Asia-Europe capacity, 2M to hang on

CKYHE, G6 carriers to cull Asia-Europe capacity, 2M to hang on
Weak containership utilisation levels have forced many container lines to decide on culling capacity on the Asia-Europe sailings in August, but the 2M alliance of Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) is thus far not planning to do the same, according to container shipping analyst Alphaliner.

The G6 carriers, comprising of APL, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), will cancel four Asia-North Europe sailings next month, in view of weak utilisation even during the peak season.

The void sailings will involve four different loops in successive weeks, Alphaliner revealed, following the cancellation of one sailing in July.

The G6 alliance will take out 13,200 teu per week in August, representing about 20% of the alliance’s weekly capacity on the Asia-North Europe route.

The CKYHE carriers, comprising of Cosco, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Yang Ming, Hanjin Shipping and Evergreen Line, are also planning to withdraw four Asia-North Europe sailings in August, though no official announcements have been made, Alphaliner said.

In July, the CKYHE alliance has already cancelled one sailing. If the planned capacity cut is implemented in August, the alliance will remove 8,500 teu per week, representing about 11% of its capacity on the Asia-North Europe trade.

The 2M carriers, however, are not planning to remove any sailings on their six weekly Far East-North Europe services in July and August, despite moves by their rival alliances.

Maersk Line and MSC are planning to scaledown their joint AE-9/Condor from the 9,500 teu to the 6,500 teu size only from September. “In the meantime, Maersk and MSC are increasing the size of the ships deployed on the service, with several 11,000 teu and 13,000 teu ships scheduled to join this string over the next two months,” Alphaliner said.

While carriers have managed to achieve partial success in their 1 July general rate increase (GRI) of between $900-1,300 per teu, they have already started to lose much of that rate increases with the Shanghai Container Freight Index (SCFI) spot rates on Asia-Europe falling to $699 per teu on 10 July, compared to $879 per teu a week earlier. The SCFI had plunged to a year-to-date low of $205 per teu on 19 June.

“The increase in the number of cancelled sailings in August could help improve the chances of securing the planned GRI. Announced by various carriers for 1 August, the rate increases range from $800-1,000 per teu,” Alphaliner said.

“On the other hand however, the demand outlook remains highly uncertain due to the weak euro and the continuing crisis in the Greek debt restructuring negotiations.”