The decision by the 2M carriers (Maersk and MSC) to suspend regular AE-9/Condor sailings - their Asia to North Europe string - from September, comes too late to reverse the ongoing rate slide on the trade, according to Alphaliner. The analyst already highlighted the need for each of the four alliances to remove one Far East to North Europe string in June, to balance trade capacity with the lower demand.
The Ocean Three carriers moved first and cancelled twelve consecutive weekly sailings starting from the end of June. Shortly afterwards, this was partly matched by the G6 and CKYHE alliances, with selected void sailings. The 2M carriers refrained from withdrawing capacity in July and August.
The shipping lines’ failure to remove surplus capacity effectively doomed the last two general rate increases (GRIs) in July and August. Carriers will attempt another rates hike on 1 September, but any success is likely be short-lived as demand is expected to fall sharply in October, when China’s ‘golden week’ holidays mark the end of the summer peak season.