Maersk Line has announced that due to an oversupply of container vessels operating on the Asia – Europe trade lane, container freight rates have reached an unsustainably low level.
In order to rationalise its service, Maersk Line is removing 9% of its vessel capacity currently operating on the Asia – Europe trade.
"With this adjustment we are able to reduce our Asia – Europe capacity and improve vessel utilisation without giving up any market share we have gained over the past two years. We will defend our market share position at any cost, while focusing on growing with the market and restoring profitability," said Maersk Line CEO, Søren Skou.
The 9% capacity reduction will be facilitated by a vessel sharing agreement with the French container shipping line, CMA-CGM. In addition, the company announced that the cooperation will help Maersk Line to cut the cost of serving West Mediterranean markets, enabling it to deploy its own vessels to areas where they are most needed as well as pursue further slow-steaming.
A January report from shipping analyst, Alphaliner, predicted Europe – Far East container traffic growth would slow to 1.5% in 2012 from an estimated 2.8% in 2011, due to a weakening economic outlook in Europe. The industry container vessel fleet, by contrast, is set to grow by 8.3% in 2012.
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