18 Juni 2015

[180615.EN.BIZ] Weak European Cargo Demand Prime Cause of Current rate Collapse

Cargo demand from the Far East to Europe has shrunk 3.3 per cent, based on the latest available statistics from Container Trade Statistics (CTS).

A weak euro, which has depreciated 20 per cent against the dollar so far this year, will continue to curb European imports, noted Alphaliner's weekly newsletter.

Total westbound traffic for January to April fell 3.3 per cent to 4.71 million, compared to 4.87 million TEU in the same period last year.

A total of 51 new ships of 13,800-19,000 TEU are due to be delivered in 2015, of which 26 units are already sailing and are all deployed on the FE-North Europe route, it said.

"The incessant introduction of these new ships, and the pressure to fill them, will continue to pose a significant challenge to the carriers. The pressure will continue in 2016, with a further 46 units of this size due to be delivered," said Alphaliner.

Demand weakened across all three key markets, with the main North Europe market registering a three per cent decline, while volumes to the West Med fell 3.3 per cent, it said The East Med/Black Sea market saw the largest declines, falling by 4.5 per cent.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that demand has remained weak in May and June, with the peak summer shipping season also expected to be muted," said Alphaliner.

Weak capacity utilisation on the FE-Europe route - 80-85 per cent in recent weeks despite multiple sailing cancellations - was the main reason for the failure of June 1 rate increases, mirroring the five previous failed attempts to raise rates so far this year, it said.

The demand weakness has caught carriers by surprise, as it follows the relatively strong growth of 7.5 per cent recorded in 2014 and six per cent in 2013, coinciding with a steady influx of ULCS newbuildings that cannot be redeployed to other trades.

Source : HKSG.

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