Carriers eye higher contract rates to hedge against spot market volatility
Container spot rates from Asia to Europe and Asia to the US eased back further ...
The four remaining members of the CKYHE alliance are the biggest losers in the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy, in terms of market share on the transpacific trade.
Alphaliner data shows that Cosco, K Line, Yang Ming and Evergreen have either lost Asia-US market share since 1 September, or have recorded flat volumes.
Other carriers on the route, including Hanjin’s South Korean compatriot Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), have all seen carryings increase since Hanjin’s sudden demise, said the consultant.
According to Alphaliner, HMM’s market share grew 1% to 5.1% in September, after it deployed extra transpacific loaders, a spin-off also enjoyed by its G6 alliance partners who individually also improved their share of the trade by 0.2%-0.8%.
The consultant suggested MSC and Maersk Line had been the most aggressive carriers targeting stranded Hanjin customers, and were likely to be revealed as the biggest winners when October statistics become available.
However, this factor seems to rule out either of the top two carriers bidding for Hanjin’s transpacific network, being sold by the Seoul bankruptcy court.
Following the 31 August decision by Hanjin Shipping to seek court protection, Cosco, K Line, Yang Ming and Evergreen immediately sought to reassure and allay shipper fears.
“We have taken all measures to protect your cargo from being affected,” Yang Ming said in a customer advisory the next day, but admitted: “Part of our service may consequently be affected.”
Evergreen’s customer notice said the Taiwanese line had suspended service co-operation with Hanjin and would no longer load cargo on its vessels or provide space for Hanjin containers.
However, for Evergreen cargo already aboard Hanjin vessels it said it would “do its utmost to arrange transportation where possible and provide necessary assistance to the customers affected”.
Evergreen provided more colour on the “assistance” in a message dated 9 September: “CKYE partners are discussing the possibility of sharing the relevant costs… including but not limited to port dues, towage, pilotage and light dues… to enable Hanjin vessels to smoothly call at ports for discharging cargoes which belong to clients of CKYE partners.”
However, nervous shippers remain concerned about the future of the alliance – concerns not helped by false rumours circulating about the financial stability of K Line – and the remaining partners no doubt also conceded some market share between Asia and Europe in the weeks following Hanjin’s demise.
Meanwhile, the latest status report on Hanjin’s stranded vessels is that 82 out of its 97 containerships have now been discharged, with a further seven expected to complete unloading in the next week. Five ships remain under arrest.