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31 Января 2018

RLL Container Report - 31 January 2018

From: John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd. Email: john.keir@telia.com Date: 31 January 2018

Steady as she goes.

Scrap paper makes up 6.2% of containerised exports from the USA but the Chinese government is redefining precisely which type of scrap paper they will allow into the country. Under the new and far stricter rules, scrap paper containing more than 0.5% contaminates will be rejected. Already September witnessed a 30 per cent decline in scrap imports via Chinese ports and this will put pressure on the exporters either to find new markets or to re-process the scrap paper closer to home. Meanwhile, the purchase by Maersk of Hamburg Sued increased the Danish line’s market share of the global box trade from 16 to 18 percent. More importantly, however, the acquisition of the German shipping line has re-orientated Maersk’s focus from the traditional East-West routes to the north-south trades, especially those targeting the east and west coasts of South America.

This comes as the Asia-Europe trade is gearing up for the introduction in 2019 of vessels with a capacity of 24,000 teu. The new vessel design is a variation on the existing behemoths, which means that many of the leading ports should be able to accommodate the larger box carriers without having to completely restructure the current dock layout. The lines will then have to find new homes for the former giants of the sea, which will be relegated to the lower divisions in the global ranking. This, then, may explain Copenhagen’s interesting in exploiting the full box potential of the South American market on both the inbound as well as the outbound leg. The Danes have completed the takeover of Hamburg Sud, giving Copenhagen a 33% share of the South American box trade. Maersk has an uncanny knack of reading the box market and Big Blue may be using its newly defined “mid-range” vessels, as well as its extensive agency and port networks, to tap into the “next big thing” in the world container market.

Between them, both the box lines and the major seaports are well-versed in the smooth integration of larger vessels into the major deep-sea trades but the introduction of a fleet of box behemoths will bring with it a significant increase in box traffic to, from and through the port cities. This partly explains why the authorities, especially in the densely populated great port cities of Western Europe, have been providing funds to upgrade rail capacity on routes to and from the major European terminals. A 24,000 teu vessel will be off- and on-loading far larger volumes of containers during each call at the main European ports. The prime logistical task will be simply to keep these boxes moving in and out of the ports in order to avoid box congestion, especially during the long Christmas and Easter holidays.

John Keir, Ross Learmont Ltd.
31 January 2018

Copyright ©, 2018, John Keir

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