Even as the aftershocks are subsiding following the Hanjin Shipping bankruptcy disaster in the seafreight world, marketing intelligence firm Xeneta said the industry is still “reeling” from delays in inventory, rising prices and temporary under-capacity for some ships, which could have effects on this year’s peak season performance for the air cargo industry.
“The Hanjin saga has the potential to redefine the container shipping landscape,” said Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund. “For an industry that has struggled with collapsing rates, severe overcapacity (8.1 percent at the beginning of 2016) and devastated profit margins – with even Maersk down 90 percent, year-on-year, for Q2 – this marks an opportunity to finally regain the upper hand at the negotiating table.”
When the seventh-largest oceanfreight company went belly up earlier this month, an estimated US$14.5 billion of goods were stranded on vessels worldwide, belonging to some 8,300 different companies. Berglund said the movement of this inventory is the “number one priority,” but added that there could be a permanent shift in terms of higher ocean rates, potentially reducing seafreight’s competitive advantage over airfreight.
“Hanjin’s failure resulted in an immediate capacity reduction of up to 8 percent in trans-Pacific and Asian-European routes, and this gives competitors an obvious fillip,” Berglund added. Short-term rates, he said, were already rising on the Far East Asian to North European port route since rates hit bottom in March. “As the year comes to an end, the tendering/bidding season starts for many European shippers,” he added. “This will be a wake-up call for the large-volume shippers who have maybe become accustomed to basking in long-term contracts at low rates.”
Oslo-based Xeneta is a global benchmarking platform for containerized oceanfreight, processing data from more than 17 million contracted rates and 60,000 port-to-port pairings.
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