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2M voids 2 Asia-US Gulf sailings, as top 10 US ports see imports dive

2M alliance partners Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have blanked two more sailings from Asia to the US Gulf, in response to 'further reduction in demand'

27 April 2020 - 18:22

2M alliance partners Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have blanked two more sailings from Asia to the US Gulf, in response to 'further reduction in demand'.

The 5,048-TEU MSC Nerissa deployed on the 2M's TP88/Pelican Asia-US east coast loop, on which Zim is also a vessel provider and which it dubs ZGX, will be held in China next week, as will the 5,048-TEU MSC Ans in week 20.



According to eeSea data, the pro forma capacity for the loop is between 18,500 TEU and 23,000 TEU per month.



The loop turns on calls at Mobile, Tampa and Houston in the US where the MSC Nerissa was scheduled to arrive on May 31, reported London's Loadstar.



According to Blue Alpha Capital's first-quarter port throughput data of the top 10 US container ports, last month Houston saw a 19.4 per cent decline in import containers, compared with the same month last year, to 88,302 TEU, and a 2.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter reduction to 293,272 TEU.



Overall import volumes for the US east coast ports were down by 11.6 per cent in March to 688,869 TEU, and fell by 3.1 per cent for the first quarter at 2,251,459 TEU.



The sudden drop in demand led the Port of Virginia to close one of its three container terminals last week.



The strongest performer on the east coast was New York/New Jersey, which recorded a modest 1.3 per cent drop in throughput last month to 279,358 TEU, overtaking Los Angeles as the largest US container port for imports that month, and its Q1 figure was unchanged on 2019 with imports of 902,903 TEU.



Total imports through west coast ports decreased by 17.7 per cent in March to 605,895 TEU, and by 12.9 per cent over the first quarter to 2,195,181 TEU.



Los Angeles saw import volumes collapse by 25.9 per cent last month to 220,225 TEU, reducing its throughput performance in the first quarter by 15.8 per cent on the previous year to 905,011 TEU.



'What started as supply-related disruption in China has now grown into demand- and supply-related disruption across the world,' said Mr McCown.



'The impact on inbound container volumes into the US this month will be mitigated by a backlog of containers moving out of China in March. However, the underlying trends are negative, and we will see larger declines driven by the health crisis,' he said.



Mr McCown warned: 'In my view, there will be neither a v-shaped or u-shaped recovery in container volumes. This crisis will result in structural changes, leading to permanent change.'


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