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Asian demand results in container shortfall for Maersk

Asian demand results in container shortfall for Maersk

Copenhagen: Unusually high demand for shipping from Asia after the Chinese New Year has resulted in space and container constraints onboard Maersk vessels. Lars Reno Jakobsen, head of Network and Product and a member of Maersk Line's management board said, "The present market situation is unique. The (vessel) utilisation rates have been much higher in the second quarter than they have normally been. It is a very exceptional year ... That means there's a shortage of space on the vessels and for containers for the period."

"We are experiencing a demand surge in most trades, which is a development that is both unprecedented and unexpected by us and our customers," Jakobsen said, adding that Maersk expects the seasonal third-quarter demand increase to be "very strong" this year.

"We expect an even more pronounced and serious shortage of containers in the coming months as we enter the peak season," he stated. "Maersk Line expects the equipment (container) shortage to last through the third quarter of this year and will continue to work closely together with all stakeholders, not least our customers, to further reduce equipment turnaround times."

Jakobsen told Reuters that Maersk Line had obtained 50,000 extra feu containers to help overcome the shortage -- adding to its existing 1.3 million units. "As carriers and shippers did not expect the current demand surge, the necessary equipment has not been ordered in 2010, ultimately resulting in the global shortage in equipment," he said. Asia-Europe trade is growing by 23 percent year-on-year, outpacing the market's 3-6 percent forecast from six months ago, he said.  [17/06/10]