LONDON: Demand growth recovery in the Asia-West African trade has inspired two new fortnightly services, international shipping and container traffic consultant, Drewry, has revealed.
According to Drewry’s latest Container Insight Weekly Report dated September 4, 2017, “container volumes during the second quarter of 2017 in the Southbound Asia to West Africa registered their first positive year-on-year comparison since the final three months of 2014.
“Shipments in 2017 reached 330,500 TEUs according to Container Trades Statistics Ltd. (CTS), worth a 3 per cent gain on the same period last year. This follows a minor decline of 0.3 per cent in an upwardly revised first quarter (previously -14 per cent), putting the first-half growth rate at 1.4 per cent as volumes landed just shy of 600,000 TEU.
“CTS’ revision to earlier year data means that the start of the upwards inflection in the long-term trend can be traced back to the start of this year.
Our rolling 12-month monthly average bottomed out in February and has since shown steady improvement, enough to reduce the annual comparison from -12 per cent to nearer -8 per cent. It will take longer for the average monthly TEU count to reach anything like the recent high of 125,000 TEU (February 2015) but as the comparisons get easier the growth change will inevitably move towards the neutral line and beyond.
“Carriers have reacted to the upturn in demand by introducing two fortnightly services. The first, the joint WAX2/FEW5 from Maersk Line and CMA CGM was resurrected after being suspended in February when it was a weekly operation. The WAX2/FEW5 brings back six 4,200 TEU units to the trade (instead of 10 x 4,700 TEU previously) on a rotation of Nansha, Singapore, Tin Can, Apapa, Cotonou, Singapore and back to Nansha Ports.
“The second new service comes from Cosco and Gold Star Line (owned by Zim) in the form of the WAX5/FA3 loop. It will use the same number and size ships as the WAX2/FEW5 and will serve Ningbo, Nansha, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Kelang, Durban, Tin Can, Tema, and Ningbo. The net impact from these two new operations is that the total number of available southbound Asia to West Africa slots will be approximately 5 per cent greater in October than in the same month one year ago, according to Drewry estimates.”