RLL Container Report - 10 January 2018
From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: email@example.com Date: 10 January 2018
The next wave of intermodal traffic.
Kenya Railways got the New Year off to a fine start by inaugurating the first commercial freight train on the standard-gauge railway between the port of Mombasa and the inland rail container depot outside the capital, Nairobi. The line was built to carry double-stack trains and so the 52 wagons transported a total of 104 teu on the 9-hour journey up to the Kenyan capital. Coincidentally, that one train load of cargo is roughly equivalent to the volume of trucks operating daily on the highway linking the Indian Ocean port to the nation’s capital. Kenya Railways charges USD 500 to transport a 20-foot container and USD 700 for a 40-foot container, which includes the handling charges at both ends. Rail engineers are already extending the line to neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which depend on the port of Mombasa for their imports and exports.
By the end of the current year, containerships owners will take delivery of 108 ships each with a capacity in excess of 14,000 teu. This will effectively double the number of mega ships in operation to 200 in total. The shipping alliances will make use of these new entrants to lower even further unit costs. Needless to say, Maersk and MSC will dominate the trade route from Asia to Europe. However, with more than 40 maritime services and 323 ships, Ocean Alliance, led by CMA CGM is the largest operational agreement ever made between shipping companies. It offers 17 services on the Asian-Northern Europe, Mediterranean, Red Sea and Middle Eastern trades, and 23 services on the North American trades making it the number one Alliance on the Transpacific. The CMA CGM Group will have the biggest market share in this agreement deploying a fleet of 119 ships among the most efficient on their respective trades.
However, some commentators have expressed concern that the arrival of all these new-buildings in the 14,000+ class in the first quarter of 2018 may result in a temporary shortage of ex-factory containers in Far East ports. On maiden voyages, shipowners usually like to have the upper-decks full of new containers each bearing the company logo on the side, while the older, rusty units are stored below. This is the only time that the line can stage-manage helicopter shots with each box brand-spanking new and the paint gleaming in the noon-day sun.
John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
10 January 2018
Copyright ©, 2018, John Keir