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Maersk Line sees boxship capacity glut to last until 2014

Maersk Line sees boxship capacity glut to last until 2014
Excess container shipping capacity is expected to prolong until 2014 as market demand growth continues to be outpaced by the supply of tonnage, according to Thomas Knudsen, ceo of Maersk Line, Asia Pacific region.

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.