Ocean shippers will be compelled to grapple with service cuts: SeaIntell
LAST year's sailings fell 7.4 per cent year on year, leaving shippers fewer options as bigger ships made fewer calls and more vessels joined slot swapping alliances.
Yet shippers may have more options for origins and destinations through transshipment, according to maritime analysis firm SeaIntel.

The average drop in sailings from 132.7 a week in 2012 to 123 in 2014 was biggest between north Europe and the east coast of South America, with frequencies down 25 per cent over two years, said SeaIntel.

Second biggest drop was between Asia and the east coast of South America from 2012 through 2014 with 18 per cent fewer services, reported Newark's Journal of Commerce.

Third most severe drop was on the Asia-Med route followed by Asia to north Europe, the Med-US east coast and from Asia to the US east coast and from Asia to the US west coast.

There was an increase in services in 2013 from 2012, but those gains were lost in 2014, SeaIntel said.

The "reduction in service frequency translates into fewer products for shippers to choose from - at least from an overall perspective," SeaIntel said.

"However, it's equally clear that as demand growth remains subdued, the phase-in of new large vessels must be accompanied by a reduction in service frequency."

The sliver of good news for shippers is that initial first-quarter data suggests the 2M alliance between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co and the Ocean Three shipping alliance of CMA CGM, China Shipping Container Lines and United Arab Shipping Co will not reduce service frequencies.