The Asia-Europe trade route is bound to experience further rate turmoil during 2017 as carriers from three new alliances are set to phase additional vessel capacity into the trade starting from April, according to Alphaliner.
The three new alliances, including 2M-HMM/HS, OCEAN and THE Alliance, will provide 17 weekly strings between Asia and North Europe, one more than currently offered by the four existing alliances 2M, G6, CKYE and O3.
With these changes, the total weekly capacity to North Europe will increase by 9.6%, compared to the services offered now.
Alphaliner said that the biggest increases are to come from the 2M, which will not only fully upgrade its existing loops to the 18,000-20,000 TEU scale, but also mount a sixth weekly string from April. The 2M carriers’ average capacity on the Asia-North Europe route will thus increase by some 23%, from 83,500 TEU to 103,000 TEU.
The 2M's capacity increase is partly motivated by the extra volumes to be brought by HMM and Hamburg Süd, who will take about 6,000 TEU and 4,000 TEU, respectively, of weekly slots on the alliance's services from April 1. These slots account for 12% of the capacity increase, while Maersk and MSC will still see their net weekly capacity increase by some 11%.
The two other new alliance groups – OCEAN and THE Alliance – will offer six and five weekly strings, respectively, with a combined weekly capacity of 155,000 TEU. They will provide the same total number of weekly sailings as that offered currently by the G6, CKYE and O3, while total weekly capacity is increased by about 9%.