United Arab Shipping Company’s (UASC) confirmation last week that it has ordered 5 x 18,000 vessels and 5 x 14,000 teu vessels for delivery between late 2014 and mid-2015 is the first major challenge to the top players’ vessel capacity supremacy since Coscon and CSCL burst into the container market in the late 1990’s, according to Drewry Maritime Research.
The order will increase UASC’s vessel capacity offered at the end of last year by around 60%, and propel it from the bottom of the top 20 league to the lower ranks of the top 12.
The top 12 also clearly have their eyes set on further vessel upgrades from between 10,000 teu and 13,000 teu to between 14,000 teu and 18,000 teu due to the economies of scale offered by the bigger vessels. Up to the time that UASC’s order was confirmed last week, the top 12 appeared to be coasting towards even greater supremacy, with approximately 61% of all vessel capacity (cellular and other vessels) already under their control towards the end of 2012.
They will not be sweating too much over UASC’s order, therefore. Apart from the fact that it will add unwanted capacity to the global fleet, the Mid-East based state-owned carrier only controlled 1.5% of all vessel container capacity in October last year, and will still control less than 2% at the end of 2014, when the first vessels are due for delivery.
Drewry Maritme Research's own view
UASC will seek to join forces with other like-minded ocean carriers in the Asia/Europe tradelane in order to establish enough service frequency to take on the remaining big players.
Source: Drewry Maritime Research