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More deepsea carriers have announced plans to cut capacity on the Asia-Europe trade in preparation for a slowdown in volumes after the summer peak season.
2M partner MSC today said it would suspend one of its Asia-Europe services after the end of China’s Golden Week holiday, which begins on 1 October.
It said: “Due to the anticipated slowdown in demand, Mediterranean Shipping Company plans to make a temporary structural adjustment to its Asia-Europe network around the end of the third quarter/early in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“The change will help us to match capacity with the expected weaker market demand for shipping services in the early part of the second half of the year.
“MSC plans to suspend one of its Asia-Europe services during this period, with a view to restoring the service, provided that market demand recovers towards the end of the year.”
Also today, Hapag-Lloyd announced that the 17 August sailing of THE Alliance’s Far East-Europe Loop 1 service will be cancelled, as the ship – the 9,000 teu NYK Vesta – is scheduled to be removed from service as part of the grouping’s vessel maintenance scheme.
A couple of weeks ago, the Ocean Alliance indicated it was preparing to trim capacity and announced the cancellation of a July sailing of its WM1 Asia-West Mediterranean service.
Alliance member OOCL said the move was “in response to the expected low demand in the West Mediterranean during the summer holiday period”.
Eastbound freight rates on the Asia-North Europe and Asia-Mediterranean have remained in the $800-900 bracket for several weeks, although carriers have been looking to push for higher pricing for the next quarter through peak season surcharges and the continuation of emergency bunker levies.