Long Beach: Rates on the transpacific are set to jump, the ceo of Maersk Line told delegates attending the Journal of Commerce-organised TPM conference in Long Beach on Monday.
“Rates will be higher this year than last year” Soren Skou said. When questioned by journalists later, Maersk’s president for North America, Mike White, suggested transpacific rates, currently mid-way through annual negotations, are likely to rise by around 10%.
Skou ruled out any possibility of copying the Daily Maersk offering on Asia-Europe to the transpacific. “We do not have enough volume in the Pacific to offer a daily product,” he said. Maersk’s transpacific market share stands at around 10%, while its Asia-North Europe footprint is “north of 20%”, he said.
Skou used the keynote stage at TPM to announce a new customer charter, vowing to quicken times this year for booking, documentation, amendments, pre-arrival notifications, invoices, dispute resolutions and service recovery.
Skou also spoke about how calls by Maersk to the US east coast were increasingly coming via the Suez Canal, not through Panama, a trend that the industry as a whole is adopting to soak up more capacity.
Skou reckoned the split between Panama and Suez to the US east coast was now 60:40 in the Central American nation’s favour. 90% of east coast calls went through the Panama Canal as recently as 2008, he said.
Suez services to US east coast allow for 8,000 to 9,000 teu ships rather than panamax-sized ones. These ships are cascading down from the Asia – Europe trades.
“8,000 to 9,000 teu ships are becoming obsolete on Asia – Europe,” Skou said.
“Suez services will be a way that we manage capacity in the industry” the Maersk ceo maintained.
“We have to be able to live in a situation with overcapacity. The only way to do that is to take costs out and provide low and steady freight rates,” Skou continued.
He predicted this year would see a 10% growth in new capacity coming in, while container demand will grow 4-5% bringing further need for more slow steaming, more scrapping and more idling.
“We have to continue to fight every day to make this a more sustainable business,” Skou said in concluding his speech to the 2,100 delegates. [05/03/13]