Transpacific capacity is nearing preCOVID-19 levels
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, average weekly vessel capacity in the Transpacific trade is expected to reach a level in July, that is roughly similar to one year ago.
Weekly capacity from the Far East to North America stood at almost 436,300 teu on 1 June, which was 24,300 teu or 5.3% lower than on 1 June 2019 (based on usable teu). The resumption of the 2M Asia - USWC ‘TP-8 / Orient’ service as from 8 June, the launch of the Shenzhen - Los Angeles ‘Zim eCommerce Xpress’ (ZEX) service on 23 June, and the start of a new China - California service by Maersk and MSC on 6 July will add some 23,000 teu of weekly capacity to the trade.
Capacity between the Far East and North America could even increase further this summer if 2M and THE Alliance resume in August two Asia - USEC services that the carrier alliances susped from April until the of July. The fact that THE Alliance is reinstating several sailings that were previously blanked, is a further sign that cargo demand is recovering. Evergreen and Yang Ming are also introducing 12,000 teu newbuildings between Asia and the US to replace 8,500 teu tonnage.
The OCEAN Alliance remains the largest carrier grouping with a 39% market share despite a reduction of its Asia - North America offering by 3.1%.
Capacity of THE Alliance increased by 10% to 130,000 teu per week, resulting in a market share increase of 26% to 30%. The increase is due to the joining of HMM on 1 April. In June 2019 the average weekly vessel capacity offered by HMM on its indepent (non alliance) services represented 4.3% of the total Far East - North America vessel capacity.
Of note, the 2M Vessel Sharing Agreement of Maersk and MSC has also increased its Y-O-Y weekly capacity on the Asia - North America trade by 8%. This increase is partly due to the deployment of some 19,200 - 23,700 teu megamax ships in Europe - Asia-US West Coast pulum services, including the 23,656 teu MSC ISABELLA which has set this month a new US record for the largest number of containers (18,465 or the equivalent of 34,263 teu) handed in Los Angeles.
The market share of the 2M Alliance on the Asia - North America route has increased from 18% to 20%. Other carriers now control 11% of Transpacific capacity (down from 18% as HMM joined THE Alliance). They include Zim, Matson, SM Line, Westwood and Wan Hai as Pacific International Lines (PIL) left the Transpacific trade in April.