On the Asia-Europe trade, Knudsen observed that container shipping capacity is projected to increase by 6-9% by the end of this year, overtaking a market growth of 2-4%.
“Next year we expect to end up with 3-6% market growth, which is a wide margin so 2014 will certainly be a better year than this year,” Knudsen told Seatrade Global. But he warned that 2014 will still be a challenging year as new capacity entering the Asia-Europe trade will continue to overtake container shipping demand.
“The (demand-supply) imbalance is getting worse. The industry is focusing more on managing capacity through super slow steaming and capacity withdrawal programme,” he noted.
Amid the market's tonnage glut, Denmark-based Maersk Line will take delivery of five 18,000 teu containships this year. The mega vessels, named the Triple-E, are currently the world's largest in terms of capacity. A remaining 15 sister vessels are to be delivered in 2014 and 2015.
Knudsen highlighted that the Triple-E ships will only be filled to a maximum capacity of 14,200 teu, with full load expected only in September 2014 when Maersk Line starts operating a full string of Triple-E ships on its AE10 service.
He added that Maersk Line has not added extra capacity into the market even with five Triple-E hitting the waters by end-2013 as the carrier has pulled out capacity from its AE9 service in February this year.
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