Cosco, K Line, Yang Ming and Hanjin are set to reduce around 21% of their alliance’s total capacity on the Asia-Mediterranean trade during the 11-week timespan, when 33 loops were scheduled.
“We are adjusting capacity in line with lower winter demand,” a K Line official said. “We may arrange similar cuts again after the lunar new year in mid-February, when demand usually softens.”
The alliance is to drop three sailings from its MD1 service, two from MD2 and two from the MD3 service.
Even before the seasonal demand downturn, Asia-Mediterranean volumes were lacklustre, due to weak consumer demand in Europe.
Liftings from Asia to western Mediterranean and North African destinations totalled 599,340 teu in the third quarter, 16.2% lower than the year-ago level, figures from Container Trade Statistics showed.
CKYH reduced its Asia-North Europe services from five loops to four from the middle of October, around two months earlier than usual.
The cuts are also in line with rate restoration efforts from major carriers, many of them hiking up rates from east Asia to the Mediterranean and North Europe by at least US$500 per teu in November and December.