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            october 17, 2019

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New tonnage depress rates from Asia: Alphaliner


Just as the peak season begins, fresh tonnage and new participants in old trade lanes have combined to depress freight rates from Asia and make carriers leery of imposing the surcharges so boldly proclaimed only a few weeks ago, according to the Shipping Gazette. 
The plethora of new services in the last two months has also put pressure on carriers to lower rates as they face massive extra capacity they need to fill, particularly on the Asia-Europe run, according to Alphaliner analysis.
Peak season surcharges that were to bite from mid-July, with Maersk Line boldly announcing the biggest ever on that trade lane - US$750 per TEU - are not so easily enforced. Some carriers have delayed implementation, fearing implementation lest shippers go bargain hunting.
The Paris-based Alphaliner consultancy also said fearful carriers plan to apply rate increases only in August "while circulating rumours that this may be deferred to September".
Maersk has backed down on the level of its peak season surcharge and now demands less, said the French agency. Other carriers appear to have given up on surcharges to the Mediterranean and only demand them on the full Asia to north Europe run.
Asia-US rates, especially to the west coast, have also weakened because of the rising tonnage in the trade. Not only in terms of few ships, but also the introduction of a new player, The Containership Company (TCC), which operates a Taicang (near Shanghai)-LA shuttle service.
Also new is the Hainan Pan Ocean Shipping that goes transpacific in August and Horizon Lines whose Asia-US ships come on stream in December, "despite recent capacity increases by the more established carriers, which either launched new transpacific loops or upgraded existing ones", said Alphaliner.
Both the Far East-Europe and transpacific freight rates could see more dramatic declines if demand fails to match the supply growth that is planned for these trades, said the French agency.
The Asia-Australia rates have already dropped by 46 per cent since late January, according to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), most because of new capacity crowding the trade lane.

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