26 January 2023

Alphaliner: main carriers will cut 27% of Asia-Mediterranean routes

Alphaliner, a company that provides data and consulting services to the maritime industry, has reported on the future of shipping between Asia and Europe, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean Sea.

Maritime carriers are reducing their capacity on the Asia-Europe route, by a cut of 27% in the first 7 weeks of the year, Alphaliner claims. This means 53 departures being cancelled out of a total of 196 planned for 18 services to Northern Europe and 10 to the Mediterranean Sea. Furthermore, there may be new announcements of “blank sailings” planned for the period following Chinese New Year. The 2M organization (agreement between Maersk and MSC, which will last until January 2025) has also reduced its trips, particularly to the Northern Range ports, offering only 3 departures of its AE55-Griffin to Felixstowe and Le Havre (with cancellations for the next weeks) and completely removing the departures of the AE1-Shogun to Rotterdam and Bremerhaven.

Despite these significant cuts, the prices of chartering ships are still not stable and may continue to change in the future. The cut was supposed to lead to a halt in the continuous decline, but – except for a couple of weeks around New Year – the sea freight rate has continued to remain low, at levels very far from the end of 2020 – the entire 2021 where they had also reached 18,000 dollars for a 40-foot container from China (and over 20,000 for the United States). A still shaky situation that could have unexpected consequences.