The growth of container trade is at its lowest level ever from Asia to the U.S. this year
With both bulk and container shipping rates diving, at some major shipping lines are cutting out less profitable lanes.
Philip Damas, director of research at Drewry's ship consultancy in London, said that the growth of container trade is at its lowest level ever from Asia to the U.S. this year, and was at a 15-year low from Asia to Europe.
"As a result of the financial crisis we are seeing consumers buying less clothes and furniture and we've even got the start of bankruptcies for furniture importers," he said.
The number of shipping containers entering the U.S. through its top 10 container ports between January and September was 7.2% lower than it was during the year-earlier period.
With container demand down and rates following suit, ocean container lines are cutting out capacity.
Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk"s Maersk Line would remove 7,600 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per week from its Asia-North Europe lanes.
"The current Asia-Europe market is characterized by unsustainable rate levels," Maersk said in a statement.
The Maersk move comes only days after Neptune Orient Lines on Tuesday said in a statement its container shipping business APL will reduce capacity in transpacific trade by around 20% and reduce capacity in Asia-Europe trade by around 25% by suspending certain service offerings.
APL said the moves were made ?in response to increasingly challenging conditions in the major container trades.?