Trans-Atlantic Trade

Trans-Atlantic Trade

Once the United States' dominant international corridor, the centuries-old trade between Europe and North America has stagnated in recent years as recessions struck both continents and as Asia increased its manufacturing prowess. But while analysts would classify the trade as "mature," with little upside or downside, it's also stable, meaning carriers and shippers can plan their strategies without fear of the severe volatility seen in other east-west trades such as the trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe. For many in the trade, anticipation in recent years has centered around preparations for the onslaught of large mega-ships that will begin to pour through the Panama Canal when its decade-long expansion project is complete in 2015. Suddenly, those big ships are arriving early — but from an entirely different direction: through the Suez Canal from Asia. Driving the trend is the introduction of new 10,000-plus-TEU vessels on the Asia-Europe trade, cascading the 8,000-TEU ships that previously plied that trade to the trans-Pacific and, now, through the Suez Canal as carriers seek the economies of scale that they can’t find on the 5,000-TEU ships that are the largest that can transit the Panama Canal. The shift is providing a boost to trans-Atlantic carriers, East Coast ports such as Savannah, Charleston, Virginia and New York-New Jersey in a market that, while steady, has shown little upside for growth in recent years. European ports, meanwhile, are struggling under the weight of a recession that has hurt imports and exports. Indications, however, point to improvement in the economy, especially in the fourth quarter of this year and into 2014, which would be a welcome relief to the trans-Atlantic market.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Coverage

The centuries-old trade between North Europe and the U.S. is all but stagnant, especially on the eastbound leg of the trade. U.S. imports from Europe are recovering, while exports must await economic revival of Europe, which seems trapped in its own dedication to austerity. All eyes are on 2014, when signs of improvement in recession-bound southern Europe may augur for an economic turnaround, albeit a weak one.

News & Analysis

09 Jul 2014
Trade between northern Europe and North America fell in May, but carriers are making moves to keep their utilization rates over 90 percent on both eastbound and westbound routes, Drewry says.
Ocean carrier rate revision roundup for July 4
04 Jul 2014
Several container lines have planned general rate increases in multiple trade routes to take effect Aug. 1...
17 Jun 2014
LONDON — Europe’s major ocean carriers, ports and shippers are urgently rethinking their business strategies following th
04 Jun 2014
Maersk Line said it intends to raise rates on shipments between the Mediterranean and North America, beginning July 1.
15 May 2014
Zim is teaming up with Hapag-Lloyd on the U.S.-Mediterranean route to increase port coverage and reduce transit times, in the Israeli ocean carrier’s second agreement with a member of the G6 Alliance in the past week.
01 May 2014
A temporary space shortage on the trans-Atlantic is looming thanks to implementation of the G6 Alliance in that trade lane.

Commentary

As cargo delays at the Port of New York and New Jersey enter their third month, customers are wondering: When will this end? Terminal operators say they expect things to settle down soon after Labor Day. That’s small comfort to port users dreading another month of expensive delays.