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Home News Long-haul container shipping capacity grows at expense of regional lanes

Long-haul container shipping capacity grows at expense of regional lanes

Intra-Europe, intra-Asia and container services to Africa have taken a beating as liner operators diverted vessels to the more lucrative Asia-Europe and Transpacific lanes over the past year.

Alphaliner’s latest report, released on 24 August, stated that as of 1 August, intra-Europe capacity had declined by 14% year-on-year. The contraction for intra-Asia and African services was 10% and 4%, respectively.

Alphaliner noted that while in August 2021, the reduction in intra-Europe capacity was just 5%, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caused more capacity to be withdrawn, as many regular services to/from Russia were suspended.

In comparison, the decline in intra-Asia capacity is comparable to what it was in August 2021.

Alphaliner said, “During the past 12 months the number of ships deployed in Africa-related service has decreased from 457 to 409 units. This capacity loss was only partly compensated for by deploying larger ships with an average size of 4,077 TEU on 1 August (compared to 3,814 TEU last year).”

The largest route in terms of cellular fleet deployment remains Asia – North America, which saw capacity increase by 31% in 2021. The capacity addition slowed to 62,500 TEU, or 1.1%, to 5.55 million TEU in the first seven months of 2022. After a significant capacity build-up of 31% in 2021, only 62,500 TEU slots were further added in the first seven months of this year.

As more medium-sized or smaller ships have been shifted to deep sea routes, the average vessel size on all trade routes, except Africa-related services, has decreased.

The biggest ships are still deployed between Asia and Europe, where the average size now stands at 15,217 TEU, down from 16,086 TEU in August 2021.

The average size on the Asia - North America loops has dropped from 8,809 TEU last year to 8,399 TEU on 1 August. During the past 12 months, the number of ships deployed in Africa-related services has decreased from 457 to 409 units. This capacity loss was only partly compensated for by deploying larger ships with an average size of 4,077 TEU on 1 August (compared to 3,814 TEU last year).


Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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