Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maersk struggles to raise rates

Maersk is having difficulty to raise rates because of all of the new
ships coming in, increasing capacity.

They don't mention where all these new big vessels are coming
from, but at least some of them belong to Maersk.

This is their web-site about the new Triple E vessels.

From 27 June 2011

Today, at a signing ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, Maersk Line exercised its option with Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. to build an additional 10 Triple-E ships, the world’s largest and most efficient container vessels.

The event follows Maersk Line's order in February this year for 10 Triple-E vessels with two options - each for an additional 10 ships.

“I am very excited to have signed a contract with Daewoo for 10 more Triple-E ships. We now have twenty Triple-E on order. They underline our strong commitment to the Asia-Europe trade and fit well with our current ambitions and expectations for the future development of the trade. We believe the Triple-E ships with their record capacity and energy efficiency will enable us to deliver on the commercial and environmental expectations of our customers and also give us a significant competitive advantage in the market,” says Eivind Kolding, CEO of Maersk Line.

Maersk Line expects demand on the Asia to Europe trade to increase 5-8% per year during 2011-2015. By introducing the Triple-E vessels from 2013, Maersk Line will be able to meet the increasing demand as well as maintain its market share. The first 10 vessels will be delivered 2013 and 2014; the second 10 vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2014 and 2015.

And now, less than 3 months later, this appears in Bloomberg News

A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, the No. 1 container line, said it’s struggling to raise peak-season rates on the Asia-Europe shipping route, the world’s second-busiest, as an influx of new vessels leads to a glut in capacity.

The Danish company’s Maersk Line unit imposed a “pretty ok dividend” on most other routes, with the exception of Asia-North America, the busiest global flow, where expansion has been “very modest,” Chief Executive Officer Eivind Kolding said in London.

“Most of the new big ships actually go to northern Europe, so this is where you have the bigger problem,” the CEO said in an interview. “It’s difficult to make a decision to pull a lot of capacity, especially if hypothetically one line should decide to do it, then actually the rest of the market will benefit.”

Maersk has implemented rate increases on some Mediterranean routes since the start of the peak season, which began on Aug. 15 and runs until Nov. 30, Kolding said, and trade in emerging markets and some regional routes is showing “double digit” growth. Still, the CEO said he’s concerned that “nervousness” in financial markets could spill over into the wider economy.

“We have a much more mixed picture than in 2009, where we saw a collapse basically across the board,” he said. “We’re slightly concerned because we did see a good momentum of recovery, not a fast, but a fairly fast, recovery.”

Holiday Stockpiles

Europe usually imports more goods in the third quarter as shops stockpile for the Christmas and New Year holidays, a gain that may be curbed as retailers anticipate that concern about economies and jobs will hurt consumer spending.

For the moment, fleet utilization remains at more than 90 percent on Asia-Europe routes, matching the global average, Kolding said, giving shipping lines little incentive to slash capacity, especially with new vessels arriving later this year.

While growth in container volumes has slowed for four consecutive quarters, declines are nowhere near the 22 percent contractions seen in the first half of 2009. Only a drop of a similar magnitude will force all container lines to conclude that pulling capacity is the right strategy, he said.

The industry may lose $2.5 billion to $3 billion this year, according to Philip Damas, director of liner shipping and supply chains at Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. in London. Owners and operators lost $20 billion in 2009, when the global container trade contracted for the first time ever, Drewry says.

“People are definitely more concerned today than they were, say, around the end of June,” Kolding said. “We definitely hear some concerns from our retail customers as well. It’s Europe, North America and Japan that are negative. The rest of the world is doing very much more nicely.”

Kolding spoke Sept. 12 after Maersk said it will deploy 70 ships on the first guaranteed daily sailings between Europe and Asia in a bid to win market share as demand stutters. The Copenhagen-based company will also offer fixed cut-off times and a discount of at least $100 for delayed containers.

Maersk has deep pockets, and maybe the new "guaranteed daily sailings" will be
the trick that will put them at the top of the heap. Also, their new
ships are energy efficient, which certainly helps.


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