Deployment of around 54 ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs) between October 2014 and December 2015 along the Asia-Europe trade route is expected to have massive effects on trade.
With a minimum TEU-capacity of 10,000, Drewry Shipping Consultants believe ULCVs may help to bring carriers lower slot costs.
World Maritime News has reported Drewry as saying that the ULCVs may have the ability to change supply-demand dynamics, spot freight rates, and adjust the competitive balance between the alliances.
A statement from Drewry read: “The delivery of over 50 ULCVs in the next 15 months is a double-whammy for the alliances. Lower slot costs are a positive, but they will struggle to cope with the additional capacity in the Asia-North Europe trade and the 60 ships that will be cascaded elsewhere are a risk for the stability of other routes.
“The delivery of vessels within the respective alliances is quite different. The G6 lines have no ULCVs due for delivery in 2015 and this is probably why they are feeling the pressure to invest in a new tranche of 18,000 teu vessels in order to compete with Maersk, MSC, CSCL and UASC.”
The Maersk and MSC shipping alliance 2M has a fairly small average ship-size due to Maersk utilising 10,000 TEU ships along three of its weekly loops.
However, by the end of 2015, this will rise to 14,300 TEU with the delivery of the ULCVs.