Mediterranean Shipping is set to significantly increase its share of Asia-Europe container traffic in 2012 at the expense of market leader Maersk Line, according to Alphaliner.
The Geneva-based carrier “holds the wildcard” on the world’s biggest trade lane because its fleet of 43 vessels over 12,500 20-foot equivalent units “dwarfs” Maersk’s current tally of 21 11,500 TEUs ships, the container analyst said.
MSC received its 43rd ship of above 11,500 TEUs last week, enabling the the world’s second largest ocean carrier to deploy a full fleet of 11,500-14,000 TEUs ships on each of its four Far East-Europe-Mediterranean strings for the first time.
Container Shipping News: Maersk Cuts Asia-Europe Capacity 9 Percent
By the end of March MSC will be operating 43 vessels above 12,500 TEUs, if deliveries proceed on schedule. This means its four Far East-Europe-Mediterranean services will deploy ships above 12,500 TEUs, as the remaining 11,500 TEUs vessels are displaced by the latest newbuildings.
The gap between MSC and Maersk will widen during the year as MSC is expected to receive further very large and ultra large container ships, boosting its 11,500-14,000 TEUs fleet to 56 by the end of 2012. Of these, 52 ships are larger than 12,500 TEUs.
Maersk, by contrast, will not receive any new ships of this size in 2012 as the first of the carrier’s giant 18,000 TEUs Triple-E vessels are not expected to enter the market until early 2013.
“This gives MSC an edge to increase its market share substantially this year, mainly at the expense of Maersk,” according to Alphaliner.
Maersk reaffirmed its determination to defend its Asia-Europe market share last week even as it announced it will cut capacity by 9 percent through a vessel sharing agreement with French carrier CMA CGM in a bid to restore profitability.
“We will defend our market share position at any cost, while focusing on growing with the market and restoring profitability,” the Danish carrier said.
Maersk Line has an estimated 18 percent share of the Asia-Europe market.
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