2M voids Asia-Europe, transpacific sailings over Chinese New Year
MAERSK Line and its 2M partner Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have blanked a number of headhaul Asia-Europe and transpacific sailings for February over the Chinese New Year period
MAERSK Line and its 2M partner Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have blanked a number of headhaul Asia-Europe and transpacific sailings for February over the Chinese New Year period.
Given that the Year of the Pig commences on February 5, the 2M will cancel two sailings to North Europe in weeks six, seven and eight, along with one voyage to the Mediterranean. Between Asia and the US, two loops to the west coast and one sailing to the US east coast will be shelved over the same period, reported UK's The Loadstar.
The cancelled sailings from Asia to North Europe include the AE2/Swan loop to Rotterdam and Felixstowe on weeks seven and eight, which was reinstated in early December after being temporarily suspended at the end of September ahead of the Chinese Golden Week factory closures.
However, the temporary capacity reduction by the 2M alliance was not copied by the Ocean and THE alliances which continued their strategy of withdrawing sailings and advising shippers in some cases on a 'need to know' basis.
According to market reports, the conflicting statements over the timing of the reactivation of the loop resulted in a loss of market share to rival shipping lines, particularly Cosco and CMA CGM.
An MSC insider told The Loadstar the carrier 'had no intention of making the same mistake' and would revert to using the normal capacity management tool of blanking sailings.
It is understood that MSC pushed for an earlier-than-planned reinstatement of the AE2/Swan service and was rewarded with full ships during December. In spite of the introduction of extra capacity, container spot rates on the trade ended the year in a bullish mood, surging 14 per cent in the final week to US$966 per TEU.
Notwithstanding the loss of market share on the trade, Maersk Line was able to take advantage of the pre-US duty tariff hike cargo boom on imports from China to deploy the bigger mega ships on the transpacific for two round trips before resuming their service on the North Europe route.
Ultimately, the imposition of a 25 per cent duty on the import of 5,700 Chinese products was postponed until March 2, to allow trade issues between the two nations to be resolved.
Maersk and MSC also cautioned exporters to Asia from Europe and the US that the blanked westbound sailings in February will result in cancelled backhaul voyages in March and April.