The container shipping industry witnessed mixed results on prominent trades between Q1 and Q2 of 2019.
The U.S.-China trade war resulted in less weekly allocated capacity (TEUs) from Asia to the West Coast of North America (WCNA) between Q1 and Q2, although the ongoing trade tension did not bog down allocated capacity on the Asia to East Coast North America (ECNA) trade over this time period.
Weekly allocated capacity from Asia to North Europe rose between Q1 and Q2 as carriers continued to overlook red flags and oversaturate the trade with capacity, while weekly allocated capacity on the North Europe to North America trade remained rather stagnant, as illustrated by data from BlueWater Reporting’s Q2 2019 World Liner Supply (WLS) Report.
For this report, North American regions only include the U.S. and Canada. The East Coast of North America also includes the U.S. Gulf Coast. Additionally, Q1 and Q2 figures were taken from the end of each quarter.
The Q2 2019 WLS Report provides information on:
• Estimated weekly allocated TEUs on 30 individual lanes operating between Europe, Asia, North America and South America, as well as changes from the prior quarter;
• Alliance market share data on major east-west trades and changes from the prior quarter;
• Liner shipping services that have been added and discontinued during the quarter;
• A breakdown of specific liner services offered on individual trades;
• Vessel information;
• And more!
The report, comprised completely of data, takes skipped sailings and slow steaming into account. It is designed to help ocean carriers, non-vessel-operating common carriers, freight forwarders, shippers, ports and analysts monitor trends in ocean liner shipping capacity.
The chart below, built using a portion of the data on just four of the 30 trade routes included in the report, shows that:
• From Asia to WCNA, weekly allocated capacity fell 0.9% between Q1 and Q2 to 281,993 TEUs as carriers began pulling back capacity due to less U.S. imports from China;
• From Asia to ECNA, weekly allocated capacity rose 5.9% between Q1 and Q2 to 147,424 TEUs as container volumes at North America’s East Coast ports (which continue to snag business from their West Coast counterparts) generally continued to hold strong, despite the U.S.-China trade war;
• From Asia to North Europe, weekly allocated capacity rose 4.6% between Q1 and Q2 to 243,978 TEUs, largely resulting from container service count on the trade increasing by one between Q1 and Q2, thus resulting in more vessels on the trade;
• And from North Europe to North America, weekly allocated capacity inched up 0.3% between Q1 and Q2 to 77,963 TEUs.
Data from the report also shows how the three major container shipping alliances - which comprise the OCEAN Alliance, the 2M Alliance and THE Alliance - continue to monopolize major east-west trades by collectively gaining more market share, as illustrated in the chart below. This trend was particularly noticeable on the Asia to WCNA trade, where alliances collectively held an 80.2% market share at the close of Q2 in terms of weekly allocated capacity, up from a share of 77.7% at the close of Q1.
The actual report shows further detail on how the OCEAN Alliance, the largest of the three alliances, increased market share on the Asia to North Europe, Asia to WCNA and Asia to ECNA trades between Q1 and Q2. However, THE Alliance, the smallest of the three major ocean carrier alliances, reduced market share on the Asia to North Europe, North Europe to North America, Asia to WCNA and Asia to ECNA trades between Q1 and Q2.
The Q2 2019 WLS Report is downloadable in an Excel spreadsheet form here.