Asia-to-Europe Routes: Mega Vessel Performance

June 28, 2019

 |  Insights

Asia-to-Europe Routes: Mega Vessel Performance

In May, JOC reported that the Asia-Europe trade lane's capacity was on track to outstrip demand. Carriers have recently deployed new mega vessels on the trade lane, the OCEAN Alliance added a new Asia-Europe service, and economic growth in Europe may decrease.

Based on these factors, we were interested in finding out how vessel capacity on the Asia-Europe trade lane has been changing. Specifically, for further background information to understand the potential growing gap between vessel capacity and demand, we were curious to see how mega vessel deployments have been increasing or decreasing over the last six months.

To analyze the Asia to Europe trade lane, we selected three port pairs: Shanghai to Hamburg, Tokyo to Rotterdam, and Port Klang to Antwerp. In terms of rankings, Shanghai to Hamburg is currently one of the top three searched port pairs in CargoSmart’s Big Schedules website. While Tokyo to Rotterdam and Port Klang to Antwerp are not currently top-searched port pairs in Big Schedules, we wanted to include a variety of origin and destination points in the study for comparison.

To measure performance, we reviewed:

  • Mega vessel arrivals
  • Mega vessel arrival delays

For our study, if more than one carrier published schedules for the same service, we counted the vessels and their estimated and actual arrival times separately. Overall, we analyzed 7,574 mega vessel arrivals provided by 16 carriers’ schedules, representing 3,098 unique mega vessel arrivals.

Tokyo to Rotterdam Had the Most Mega Vessel Arrivals

Comparing the performance of vessels across the port pairs, the Tokyo to Rotterdam port pair had the most mega vessels reaching a peak of 216 mega vessel arrivals in April 2019. The Shanghai to Hamburg port pair had the second most vessel arrivals, with its peak of 200 mega vessels occurring in January. The Port Klang to Antwerp port pair had the fewest mega vessels, reaching 102 mega vessel arrivals in Antwerp from Port Klang in April. The results are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Number of mega vessel arrivals on three Asia-to-Europe port-pairs from December 2018 through May 2019

 

Mega Vessels from Tokyo to Rotterdam Had the Shortest Delays

Next, we reviewed the mega vessels’ arrival delays. To determine vessel arrival delays, we compared the vessel's ETA at the actual time the vessel departed from the port of loading with the vessel's actual time of arrival at the port of discharge. To determine the average vessel arrival delays, we only included vessel arrival delays that were over one hour late.

We found that the Tokyo to Rotterdam port pair had the shortest average delays, with an overall monthly average delay for the six-month period of 22.8 hours, or just under one day. For vessels that were more than an hour late, Shanghai to Hamburg had an overall monthly average delay of 29.5 hours. Of the three port pairs, Port Klang to Antwerp had the longest overall monthly average delay of 33.9 hours, with an average delay of over 3 days late in March. The findings are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Monthly average mega vessel arrival delays on three Asia-to-Europe port-pairs from December 2018 through May 2019

 

The Number of Mega Vessel Arrivals Dropped in May

Returning to our original question about the trend in mega vessel deployments, we found that each of the three port pairs had fewer mega vessel arrivals in May compared to April. Shanghai to Hamburg had 4 fewer vessel arrivals, decreasing by 2.53%. Tokyo to Rotterdam had 48 fewer vessel arrivals, decreasing by 22.22%. Port Klang to Antwerp had 33 fewer vessel arrivals, decreasing by 32.35%. Both Tokyo to Rotterdam and Port Klang to Antwerp had large decreases in the number of mega vessels, while Shanghai to Hamburg only had a slight decrease in mega vessel arrivals from April to May of 2019.

→ Did you know? This study was part of the June issue of CargoSmart’s Innovating newsletter. Download the June newsletter to further discover how mega vessels of different sizes performed on the Asia-Europe trade lane and to read the full newsletter.

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