London - Deliveries of ultra-large container vessels in 2018 are expected to lead to a number of network changes in alliances, according to a report by SeaIntel Maritime Analysis.
The deliveries could see 2M and THE Alliance focus on minor network changes, but the OCEAN Alliance “is likely to make significant changes following the Chinese New Year.”
“Overall, we will see the delivery of 108 ultra-large container vessels in excess of 14,000 TEU in 2018, which is essentially a doubling of the number currently in operation, leading to more than 200 ultra-large vessels being deployed by the end of 2018,” SeaIntel informed.
To compare how this will impact the alliances on a relative level, SeaIntel has calculated an index where the number of ultra-large vessels operated by each alliance on January 1, 2018 is defined as index 100.
2M and THE Alliance essentially have a very stable development. This means that the phase-in of new deliveries will primarily be used to augment existing services, reducing unit costs on these by having a few more ultra-large vessels deployed.
However, the OCEAN Alliance is seen to grow their fleet of ultra-large vessels by more than 60% in 2018, and this is heavily front-loaded towards the early part of the year. This in turn means that Ocean Alliance, if they wish to optimize their changing fleet portfolio, need to rethink the fundamental structure of their current network.
Major restructuring of networks is typically seen to take place in the first quarter and early second quarter in the wake of Chinese New Year. This timing coincides well with the delivery profile for 2018.
“Consequently, shippers should prepare themselves for a 2018 wherein the network structures of 2M and THE Alliance are likely to undergo only smaller modifications, but wherein we will see an OCEAN Alliance potentially change the network more drastically, offering new products and network structures, driven by the rapid delivery of large vessels,” Alan Murphy, SeaIntel CEO, said.