Carriers Dedicating Capacity Towards Latin America
With volumes falling on the major East to West trade lanes, Asia to North America and Asia to Europe, carriers are starting to spread their focus across other trades, especially Latin America.
MSC, the world’s largest carrier, has now committed more ships to Latin America than they do the transpacific market, with 12% of its activities now being to and from Central and South America versus 10% on North American operations.
Maersk Line now dedicates 18% of its capacity to Latin American trades, which can partially be attributed to its takeover of South American trade specialist Hamburg Süd, with the latter’s CEO observing that the market is proving “more robust” than other regions.
Latin American trades are also significant for Hapag-Lloyd, recently taking over from the Asia-Europe market as the carrier’s mainstay, following the merger with Chilean owned CSAV and its investment in new neo-panamax 13,000 teu ships.
The big two Asian markets have seen major crashes in ocean freight pricing during recent times, due to the fall in demand of business from China in particular. Rates have recently settled at slightly above breakeven levels, and if the downturn continues, we could see more carriers looking in the direction of Central and South America.