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Utilisation improves in Q3 on key box trade lanes

In this week’s SeaIntel Sunday Spotlight, SeaIntel has introduced a quarterly utilisation measure on the main East-West trades: Asia-North Europe, Asia-Mediterranean and Transpacific. In all three, utilisation improved in Q3 2014 year-on-year—3 percentage points on Asia-North Europe, 9 percentage points on Asia-Mediterranean and 6 percentage points on the Transpacific.

In the Asia-North Europe trade lane, utilisation increased to 80.1 per cent compared to 77.6 per cent in Q3 2013.

By combining demand figures from Container Trade Statistics (CTS) and supply data from SeaIntel’s own Trade Lane Capacity Outlook database, SeaIntel was able to develop a quarterly utilisation measure for the three main East-West trades.

SeaIntel drew attention to the fact that it has used the theoretical nominal capacity of the vessels, as that is the only capacity measure that is publically available and reasonably standard across carriers. The nominal capacity will always be higher than the possible loadable capacity, as loadable capacity depends on and is restricted by a large number of factors, for example, draught restrictions, weight of the cargo, 20’/40’ split, skill of stowage planners, etc. It should also be mentioned, it said, that CTS only includes cargo that has final destination in North Europe, but part of the capacity on the Asia-North Europe services will be allocated for cargo destined for other areas, for example West Africa, which then is offloaded in Spain or Morocco and then feedered to Africa.

SeaIntel has compared its findings with the utilisation levels published by MOL, NYK and "K" Line in their quarterly results and found that its utilisation measure correlates quite well with the carriers, although at a level 10-15 percentage below what the carriers report due to difference in measurement methodology, showing that SeaIntel’s measure is a solid indicator of the relative performance in the market, its release stressed.

Said Mr Alan Murphy, COO and Partner in SeaIntel, "We also found that the utilisation level on the Asia-Mediterranean trade has been relatively high in the last two quarters, and well above the level we saw last year. In Q3 2014, the utilisation level was 88.4 per cent, which makes it the trade lane with the highest utilisation of the three we have examined".

In the Transpacific trade, SeaIntel found the lowest improvement in utilisation compared to 2013, with Q1 2014 being below Q1 2013, and Q2 2014 only 1.3 percentage points above Q2 2013, while Q3 2014 increased 7.3 percentage points year-on-year to 83.2 per cent, the release pointed out.

Source : Exim News Service - London, Nov. 27

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