Carriers experience first drop in volumes in two years as market prepares to absorb an extra 630,000 teu of large-vessel capacity before year’s end
Demand figures have exposed the gamble carriers are taking on ultra large containerships (ULCs).
Asia-Europe requirements are slackening just as a large number of vessels are being deployed on the trade.
Combined Asia-Europe and Mediterranean volumes declined for the first time in over two years in the first quarter of this year, registering a 1% fall against the corresponding period in 2014, according to data from Container Trades Statistics (CTS).
The weakening demand helps to explain the market malaise that has led to a gradual slide in freight rates over the past 14 weeks.
Rates rose briefly at the start of May as lines announced general rate increases (GRI) after failing to push up rates in March and April.